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History of clan MacFarlane 



Clan MacFarlane 


James MacFarlane 

Author of "The Red Fox" 

Published under the auspices of the Clan MacFarlane Society, 
205 Hope Street, Glasgow 





I. — Gilchrist, 1225-1263* 

2. — Duncan, 1284-1296* 

3. — Malduin, 1 31 4* 

4. — Parlan, 1329* 

5. — Malcolm, 1 344-1 373* 

6. — Duncan, 1395-1406* 

7.— John. - - - - 1426-1441* 

8. — Duncan, 1441- 

9. — Walter, -1488 

ID. — Andrew, 1488-1493 

II. — Sir John, -1514 

12. — Andrew, 1514-1544 

13.— Duncan, 1544-1547 

14. — Andrew, 1 547-1 61 2 

15- — John, 1612-1624 

16.— Walter, 1 624-1 664 

17. — John, 1664-1679 

18. — Andrew, 1679-1685 

19- — John, 1685-1705 

20. — Walter, 1 705-1 767 

21. — William, 1 767-1 787 

22. — John, 1787- 

23. — William, -1820 

24. — Walter, - - 1820-1830 

25. — William, 1 830-1 866 

* These dates are approximate. 

INDEX. ,^^P . 

Chiefs of MacFarlane, - - ^ 

Preface, - 7 

Chapter I., Introductory, 11 

Chapter II., Gilchrist, is t Chief ; TheFoun<Iei of the 

Clan. 27 

Chapter III., Duncan, 2nd Chief, 30 

Chapter IV., Malduin, 3rd Chief ; King Robert Bruce, 32 
Chapter V., Pharlan, 4th Chief ; Origin of the 

Surname MacFarlane, - - - '' 3<3 
Chapter VI., Malcolm, 5th Chief ; MacFarlane, Heir 

Male of Lennox Earldom, - - 38 

Chapter VII., Duncan, 6th Chief, 40 

Chapter VIII., John, 7th Chief, 42 

Chapter IX., Duncan, 8th Chief, 43 

Chapter X., Walter, gth Chief ; Legend of the Pie- 
bald Horse, 44 

Chapter XL, Andrew, loth Chief, 48 

Chapter XII., Sir John, nth Chief, .... ^g 

Chapter XIII. , Andrew, 12th Chief, 51 

Chapter XIV., Duncan, 13th Chief, 55 

Chapter XV., Andrew, 14th Chief ; Battle of La ngside ; 

The Colquhoun Feud ; The Raid of 

Glen Finlas, 61 

Chapter XVI. . John. 15th Chief; Raid of the Athol 

Men ; The MacFarlane-Buchanan 

Vendetta, 99 

Chapter XVII., Walter, i6th Chief ; The Burning of the 

Forest, - - - - - - 112 

Chapter XVIII. John, 17th Chief; MacFarlane and the 

Church, 118 

Chapter XIX., Andrew, i8th Chief ; The Collateral 

Succession; 124 

Chapter XX., John, 19th Chief, 126 

Chapter XXL. Walter. 20th Chief ; RebelHons of the 

'15 and '45, 130 

Chapter XXIL, William, 21st Chief ; Sale of MacFarlane's 

Lands ; MacPharic Prophesy, - 140 

Chapter XXIII. John. 22nd Chief. 152 

Septs of MacFarlane (List of), 156 

Chapter XXIV., Septs of MacFarlane, - - - - 157 


Map of Loch Lomond and Environs, showing MacFarlane 

Locations, Frontispiece 

Crest, To face page i 

Arrochar House, Present Day, - . - - . - 23 

MacFarlane Charter, Specimen of, 40 

Thogail nam bo, 53 

Eilean-a-Vo\v Castle, 65 

Old House, Arrochar Village, 72 

Gartartan Castle, 80 

Gravestone to Inverioch Piper, 96 

Memorial Stone to MacFarlane Chiefs, Luss, - - - 96 

Gravestone showing Chief's Arms, . - - . - 96 

Taing Water, Stronafine, 104 

Head of Glen Loin, 104 

Uglas Water, 104 

Uglas Valley, - - - - 104 

In veruglas Castle, - - -112 

Battle of Bothwell Bridge, 118 

Arms of Andrew of Ardess, - - 124 

Inverioch House, 12S 

Walter, 2oth Chief. 132 

Communion Cups, Arrochar Church, 137 

Armorial Tea Plate, i47 

Pages from Arrochar Parish Register, 152 

Clan Tartans, at end 


To all members of Cloinn Pharlain, in all parts of the 
world — Greeting ! 

In these pages we have endeavoured to pro\dde a 
work, the need of which has been long apparent, 
namely, an authoritative book on the Clan. 

While the information contained is by no means 
complete, still we are able to say that this is the most 
comprehensive history of the MacFarlanes ever 
produced. The arrangement is such that anyone, so 
disposed, may continue this labour of love by completing 
the work of research. He will not be compelled, as 
was our case, to build from the foundations, for these 
are here, we think, well and truly laid. It will be 
gathered from this statement that we regard this book 
only as a contribution, albeit a substantial one, to the 
subject, and we cherish a hope that broadcast circula- 
tion will have the effect of bringing information to 
light to fill the blanks of time and circumstance, 
readily discernible in our pages. 

The formation of the Society of the Clan MacFarlane 
has resulted in bringing together much new material 
which is here published for the first time, and we 
gratefuUy acknowledge assistance ungrudgingly given 
by members of the families concerned, as well as by 
friends interested in historical research. 

The necessity for the publication of this work has 
been borne in upon us in many ways. The recurrence 
of the same name amongst the chiefs, particularly 
John, has led to endless confusion in the minds of 
writers who have been unable, or unwilling, to verify 
their facts. Some of these errors are quaint, some 
stupid. For example we may give two dealing with 
the origin of the name Pharlain. 

" There were two clans fighting with each other, one 
of which was wiped out, all but one helpless little 

8 Preface 

child. One of the conquerors had pity on it, and hid it 
in a cradle till he could not hide it any longer. They 
asked him where he got the child. He said it came 
from a ' far land.' They added the ' Mac,' and the 
little child lived to be the progenitor of the Mac- 
Farlanes " (or, more plausibly, MacFarlands. — Editor). 

" My aunt also told me," the writer continues, " that 
the crest was a full dressed warrior with drawn sword 
guarding the child in the cradle : hence the motto, 
' This I'll defend.' " 

Our readers will agree that this is a very pretty 
fable ; but what are we to think of the follov/ing by a 
contributor under the nom-de-plume " A Fitzallan," 
from the Weekly Scotsman : — 

" I have never been satisfied with any given explan- 
ation of the origin of the name MacFarlane. I would 
offer one that has some probability on its side. 

" It is well known that the family name of Stewart 
was Fitz-Alan until they adopted that of their official 
rank and became Stewarts. 

" About this same time, I have read somewhere, a 
strong body of the Fitz- Alans crossed the Clyde into the 
Lennox district where they seem to have been well 
received, and settled upon Loch Lomondside. Their 
name (pronounced Fe Alan) would readily become 
Pharlane or Farlan among the Highlanders around 
them. Their social position is denoted by the Earl 
of Lennox bestowing his daughter upon their leader in 
marriage, and on their part they seem to have been 
strong adherents of these early Earls of Lennox. Being 
nearly connected with the Stuart Fitz- Alans, acknow- 
ledged kinsmen of the Scottish King, the sequence of 
events seems easily credible. Parian may be Gaelic 
for Bartholomew, but was the latter ever in use among 
the early Celtic races ? " 

So far as we can judge, " A Fitz-Alan" has gone 
astray over the story of Walter de Fassalane, who 
married the Countess Margaret, daughter of Donald, 

Preface 9 

the sixth Earl of Lennox. There exist grounds for the 
belief that Walter was a Fitz-Alan Stewart. 

A cutting in lighter vein is as follows : — 

" They are an enterprising and progressive people in 
Dunedin, and do things well at all times. It was in 
Dunedin that an ingenious Ah Sin — there are many 
Chinese about the Otago diggings — once made a famous 
attempt to break through the Scottish ' ring.' A 
road-contract was advertised by a town council, 
and when all the tenders came in, the lowest — from 
one Alexander MacFarlane — was selected, and the 
would-be contractor invited to call and sign 
the necessary papers. At the appointed time a 
bland Chinaman appeared and answered to the name. 
' But look ye here, man,' said the surprised head of the 
council, ' yer name's no' Alexander MacFarlane, 
surely ? ' ' Allitee,' said the Celestial, ' me savee 
this pidgin — supposee no gottee name belong ' Mac,' 
no gettee contract ! ' " 

But the MacFarlanes — the genuine MacFarlanes — 
leave their mark everywhere they go. There is a 
station named MacFarlane on the Cape Government 
Railway, near Kimberley ; in Canada there is a Mac- 
Farlane River, while in Shepherd's Bush, London, 
there is a thoroughfare called MacFarlane Place. A 
wayfaring clansman finding himself in this street one 
night very late, is recorded to have remarked, somewhat 
unsteadily, that he had reached home, and was with 
difficulty induced to proceed. 

In the United States of America there is a MacFar- 
lane motor car, needless to say, of the highest grade ; 
and in Texas, a Loch Sloy Post Office. 

The supreme claim to greatness for the Clan, however, 
has been advanced by a Robert MacFarlane of 
Brooklyn, New Jersey, U.S.A., who, under date gth 
February, 1878, wrote in the North American 
Journal : — 

"If we are to credit the Irish annalists, the 
.MacFarlanes may lay claim to Ireland. It is 

10 Preface 

stated in ' The Annals of Ireland ' that after the 

flood the first settlers were Partholanes. As 

Dunfermline means Partholane, or MacFarlane's 

Fort, and is still called ' Dunf arlane ' by the old 

folk, perhaps the first Partholanes landed at 

Dunfermhne and were Kings of Fife." 

The imaginative efforts we have given are indicative 

of the mass of fiction which, for lack of a true historical 

record, has grown up around the name of MacFarlane, 

and they provide a sufficient excuse for the appearance 

of this volume, even if there were not an abundance 

of other good reasons. 

We, as a Clan, desire neither to be unnecessarily 
praised nor unduly traduced, but owing to the tardy 
appearance of this work our " unfriends " have had 
a long rope. The taunts, " cattle thieves " " name 
your chief," " broken clan," and the like are ill to 
brook, yet what was to be expected when the origin 
of these was the tainted source of the historian of the 
ancient enemy, paid to produce a history of the Clan 
Colquhoun. Yet, such is poetic justice or the irony 
of circumstance, that that author stands convicted out 
of his own work. He was in the habit of employing 
literary ghosts, and one of these told the truth without 
being detected, so we have the quaint situation of the 
ostensible writer lauding the Colquhouns to the clouds 
and with no epithet severe enough to besmirch the 
dastardly MacFarlanes, and at the end of the book, in 
a few pages turned over to an assistant, the cat out of 
the bag. We confess that the discovery filled us with 
an unholy joy. 

But, now, in chastened mood, we launch this book 
trembling lest some similar literary fate o'ertakes us. 
At all events, we can say with hand on heart, that what 
is set down here is to the best of our knowledge, and to 
that we can at least pledge our word. 

Yours in the bond of clanship, 




THE history and traditions of the Clan MacFarlane 
are amongst the most romantic and entrancing 
of the folklore of the Scottish Highlands. 

The early history of the Clan is so interlinked with 
that of the ancient Earls of Lennox, from which it 
sprung, that the story of one is practically that of the 
other, until the extinction of the original house of 
Lennox, in the reign of James L of Scotland. Similarly, 
when the title was bestowed upon John Stewart, a 
close relationship was maintained through almost the 
entire period of the Darnley sway. The first Chief 
of MacFarlane was a son of the second Earl of Lennox, 
and the second Chief cousin and son-in-law of the 
fourth Earl, while the tenth Chief of MacFarlane was 
a son-in-law of the first Darnley Earl. 

These things are amplified in the historical portion 
of the work. This chapter, hke the hors d'ceuvres 
before a feast, is intended only for the tit-bits of clan 
lore — vagrant trifles to whet the reader's appetite for 
the more satisfying viands to follow. 

Very well, then ! The Clan was Farlan, its 
badge the cranberry, its slogan or cri de guerre, 
" Loch Sloy," its motto, " This I'll defend," and its 
banshee, a black goose. The designation of the Chief 
was Mac-a-Bhairling or MacPharthaloin, i.e. MacFarlane 
of that Ilk. 

They occupied the fastnesses of the Arrochar 
mountains for some six hundred years. The 
Colquhouns were their traditional enemies, while 
their friends and allies were " the clan with a name 

History of Clan MacFarlane 

that is nameless by day " — the MacGregors. They 
were generally not unfriendly with their neighbours 
to the west, the Campbells. The principal castles or 
houses of the chiefs were at Ardleish, Inveruglas, 
island Vow, and Arrochar. 

Along with Clan Donnachaidh (Robertson), the 
MacFarlanes are said to have been the earliest of the 
clans to hold their lands by feudal charter. Robertson 
and MacFarlane possess another conjoint distinction 
in that they are the only clans to bear the Royal Crown 
of Scotland in their crests. 

The MacFarlanes of Arrochar, according to the 
language of the times, were amongst the families of 
good account in the Lennox, in the period between the 
I2th and 14th centuries, and took a greater or less share 
in the important events transacted in that district. 

Skene, in asking himself the question — " What is a 
Highland Clan ? " eliminates all but such families as, 
in his opinion, were of Gaelic origin. 

He reviews the six great maarmarships or baronies of 
the Highlands — Gallgael, Moray, Ross, Garmoran, 
Caithness and Ness. " In the Gallgael maarmarship 
we have," he continues, " the five great clans of Cuinn, 
Gillevray, Eachern, Donnachie, and Pharlane." Thus 
the house is amongst the most ancient. 

The name has been variously spelt, from time to 
time, MacPharlane, MacPharline, MacFarlin, Mac- 
Farlane, MacFarland, and MacFarlan. The GaeHc 
rendering is Parlanach, from early Irish, Partholan, 
and in the Hebrew is Bartholomew, " Son of Furrows." 

Although it is usual to associate the clan with the 
Arrochar country, at a comparatively early date they 
spread further afield. We find sons of chiefs located 
at Inversnaid, Ardess (at the foot of Ben Lomond), 
Gartartan (Gartmore) the Mains of Kilmaronock, 
BaUaggan, Campsie, and at Drumfad and Auchinvenal 
in Glen Fruin, while at least two branches of the main 
stem established themselves in Argyllshire. To this 

Introductory 13 

day the districts of Menteith and Buchanan teem with 
MacFarlanes, and the name predominates in the 
graveyards of Aberfoyle, Gartmore, Balmaha 
(Buchanan), Inchcaillach, Luss, Ballyhennan (Tarbet), 
and Arrochar. In the North of Ireland, Newton 
Stewart, Co. Tyrone, is a centre of the clan, while 
under other names there are colonies in Banffshire 
and Aberdeen. 

It is stated that the MacFarlanes once owned six 
large estates besides Arrochar, which, itself, contains 
31,000 acres. They intermarried with some of the 
noblest of the families of Scotland, such as those of 
Livingstone, Glencairn, Stewart of Ochiltree, and 

Away up, deep among the everlasting hills, at least 
five miles over bog and heather from any highway, lies 
the little mountain tarn of Loch Sloy. Upon its shores 
the clan were wont to retire in times of stress, and no 
more impregnable fortress could be desired. Sur- 
rounded by high mountains upon every side, save at 
the lower end, where the Uglas Water leaps over a high 
parapet of rocks, a handful of daring men could hold 
the approach against hundreds. No sound but that 
of the moorfowl disturbs the silence of the sullen lake. 
Lonely Loch Sloy gave a war-cry to the clan, and, 
many times and oft, did the sound of it, hurled from 
stentorian throats, strike terror to the hearts of 
luckless opponents. 

The chiefs exercised all the powers of feudal lords. 
They possessed the right of pit and gallows, and 
condemned persons to be hanged on a knoll at Tarbet. 
The name of this place of execution is Tom na Croich 
(the gallows hill). 

" The Wizard of the North " had a warm corner in 
his heart for the Clan MacFarlane, as is shown by 
frequent references to its history and traditions in the 
Waverley Novels. In " Rob Roy " we have Bailie 
Nicol Jarvie's laughable speech to Helen MacGregor, 

14 History of Clan MacFarlane 

when he claims relationship with her after the fight at 
the pass of Loch Ard. 

" I dinna ken," said the undaunted Bailie, " if the 
kindred has ever been weel redd out to you yet, cousin, 
but it's ken'd and can be proved my mother Elspeth 
MacFarlane was the wife of my father Deacon Nicol 
Jarvie — peace be wi' them baith ! — and Elspeth was 
the daughter o' Parlane Macfarlane at the sheiUng o' 
Loch Sloy. Now this Parlane Macfarlane, as his 
surviving daughter, Maggie Macfarlane, alias Macnab, 
wha married Duncan Macnab o' Stuckavrallachan, can 
testify, stood as near to your guidman, Robert 
Macgregor, as in the fourth degree of kindred for " 

But here the worthy man was interrupted by the 
impatient chieftainess, so that what further revelations 
he would have made are, alas ! lost to us. 

The moon is proverbially known in some districts 
as Macfarlane' s buat (lantern), because by its light they 
usually made their depredatory excursions upon the 
low country. " Their celebrated pibroch, ' Thogail 
nam b6,' " says Sir Walter, " which is the name of 
their gathering tune, intimates these practices, the sense 
being : — 

" We are bound to drive the bullocks. 
All by hollows, hirsts and hillocks, 
Through the sleet and through the rain, 
When the moon is beaming low, 
On frozen lake and hills of snow. 
Bold and heartily we go ; 
And all for little gain." 
Sir Walter, in " A Legend of Montrose," inspires the 
devoted Highlanders of the Great Marquis with the 
stirring music of the MacFarlane gathering tune, while 
in his poem, " Cadzow Castle," he refers to 
" Wild MacFarlane's plaided clan." 
William Wordsworth, the poet, too, could not resist 
the glamour of the romance of the Arrochar country. 
His poem, " The Brownie's Cell," was suggested by a 

Introductory 15 

beautiful ruin upon one of the islands of Loch Lomond, 
a place chosen for the retreat of a solitary individual, 
from whom this habitation acquired the name of " The 
Brownie's Cell." In a foreword to " The Brownie," a 
sequel to " The Brownie's Cell," he writes, 

" Upon a small island, not far from the head of Loch 
Lomond, are some remains of an ancient building, 
which was for several years the abode of a solitary 
individual, one of the last survivors of the Clan of 
MacFarlane, once powerful in that neighbourhood. 
Passing along the shore opposite this island in the 
year 1814, the author learned these particulars, and 
that this person, then living there, had acquired the 
appellation of " The Brownie." 

The island referred to is manifestly Kilean-a-vow, or 
Eilean-a-bhuth (the island of the shop or store) as it 
was called later. Probably Wordsworth's poetic 
imagination invested the trader, prosaic enough, we 
daresay, with supernatural attributes, on account of his 
novel system of shopkeeping. But he has done more 
and worse than that, for he has permitted himself to 
believe that, like Adam and Eve from Eden, the 
MacFarlanes were dispossessed as a punishment for 
their manifold crimes. 

We append those verses of the poem, which deal 
with the indictment and punishment of this wicked 


Proud remnant was he of a fearless race. 

Who stood and flourished face to face 

With their perennial hills, but Crime, 

Hastening the stem decrees of Time, 

Brought low a Power, which from its home 

Burst, when repose grew wearisome ; 

And, taking impulse from the sword, 

And, mocking its own plighted word, 

Had found, in ravage widely dealt. 

It's warfare's crown, its travel's belt : 

i6 History of Clan MacFarlane 


All, all were dispossessed, save him whose smile 
Shot lightning through this lone isle ! 
No right had he but what he made 
To this small spot, his leafy shade ; 
But the ground lay within that ring 
To which he only dared to cling ; 
Renouncing here, as worse than dead, 
The craven few who bowed the head 
Beneath the change ; who heard a claim 
How loud I yet lived in peace with shame. 

That Wordsworth did not trouble himself over much 
with details, is shown by the fact, that he believed the 
ruins to be those of a religious house, as witness the 
line, " There stood a consecrated pile, where tapers 
burned and mass was sung ; " and again, on the 
Brownie's death, " How he was found, cold as an 
icicle, under an arch of that forlorn abode ; " never- 
theless we are grateful to this great English poet in 
that he was responsive to the beauty and significance 
of the scene ; so many pass that way with no thought 
for the " glory that has departed." 

From " The Spaewife." 

In " The Spaewife," that great romance of the 
Lennox, John Gait also has something to interest us. 
Appended are extracts : — 

" A sedate shelty was accordingly provided to carry 
Bishop Finlay over the hills, and the skin of an otter, 
or selgh, was laid on its back, as an emblem and sub- 
stitute for a saddle ; two thongs cut from the hide of a 
cow were as stirrups, for in those days tanned leather 
was not amongst the Celts ; and for the bridle there 
was another thong ; and the bit, which was put into 
the mouth of the Bishop's shelty, was the key of the 
Provost of Dumbarton's door, which the chief of the 
MacFarlanes had, a short time before, taken away with 
him, when in the town on a harrying visitation, but 

Introductory 17 

which had been rescued by some of the Earl of Lennox's 
men, with all the other spoil, as the MacFarlanes were 
returning home to Arrochar." 

" Surely you have not seized the unfortunate 
Duchesse (of Lennox) without authority," exclaimed 
the Earl (of Athol). " Know you not that the king 
has offered to restore her all the earldom of Lennox, 
which however " — 

" AU the earldom — oomph. SowUs and podies ! 
Is 't the king a man wi' a sholder on a head ? And will 
mi Laidie Tooches pe making a lifting pack again o' 
the cows and the cattle tat te Macfarlane — oomph. 
Got dam te Macfarlane ; he took te cows and cattle 
when te king made his judifications — oomph." 

" Of course, Glenfruin," said the Earl, " you were too 
faithful to herry the lands of Lennox at the time of the 
forfeiture. But if The MacFarlane has done so, let 
him look to the consequences, unless he has a friend to 
appease the King." 

" It was agreed between them (Celestine Campbell 
and his mother, the Lady of Loch Aw) that Celestine, 
with a numerous train, under the pretext of hunting, 
should by break of day make towards Lennox whither 
. . . the Lord James (only surviving son of Murdoch, 
Duke of Albany and Isabella Countess of Lennox) had 
often spoke of going to raise, among the friends of his 
mother's family, the means of bidding adieu to Scotland 
for ever. 

Celestine passed through Glencroe, and reached 
Loch Long head before he heard any tidings. It was 
not indeed until he had claimed entertainment from 
MacFarlane in the castle of Arrochar . . . that he 
obtained any information to guide his search. 

History of Clan MacFarlane 

It chanced on that night as he was sitting at supper 
discoursing with MacFarlane of his exploits as a hunter, 
that he recounted how, in returning from his late 
excursion beyond Ben Cruachan, he had fallen in with 
Sir Aulay Macaulay. (Lord James Stuart, at this 
time, passed under the name of Sir Aulay Macaulay). 
For The MacFarlane, notwithstanding the insinuations 
of Glenfruin to the contrary, happened then to be one 
of the most orderly and loyal of all western chieftains, 
and on that account Campbell did not choose to tell 
him, that he had been even so far as Loch Rannochside. 
Whether there was anything particular in the sound of 
his voice, or in his look, when he spoke of this adventure, 
it was certainly not remarked either by MacFarlane 
himself, nor by any of the kinsmen then seated at the 
table with them ; but while Campbell was speaking, 
he was startled by the apparition of two bright and 
glittering eyes shining in an obscure corner in the hall 
over against him ; and in a moment after, the voice of 
the Spaewife was heard chanting from the same place: — 
" Sir Aulay Macaulay, the Laird of Cairndhue, 
Bailie of Dumbarton, and Provost of the Rhue." 

" O never mind her ! " said MacFarlane ; "it is 
that poor wandering creature, Anniple of Dunblane ; 
she came into the hall a short time before yourself. 
They say she knows something by common ; but 
whether it be so or not. she's a harmless thing, and is 
aye free of a night's lodging here." 

" Aye," interposed Anniple, dragging herself for- 
ward without rising : "it's well known that I ken 
something — 

" Sir Aulay Macaulay, the Laird of Cairndhue, 
Bailie of Dumbartop, and Provost of the Rhue." 

" Well," said Campbell, " and what know you of 
him ? Have you seen him lately ? How was it with 
him ? " 

Introductory 19 

She, however, made no answer, but sang : — 

" This night beneath the greenwood tree 

My love has laid him down ; 

And the bells will ring, ring merrilie. 

Or they wile him to the town." 

" Who is your love ? " said Campbell eagerly, struck 
by something peculiar in her manner. 

" Sir Aulay Macaulay, the Laird of Caimdhue, 
Bailie of Dumbarton, and Provost of the Rhue." 

Campbell perceived that she had some notion of the 
anxiety with which he had asked the questions ; but 
afraid of being too curious lest he might attract 
observation, he smiled to MacFarlane, as if at Anniple's 
rhapsody, and casting a slight glance towards her, 
resumed the conversation which she had interrupted. 

(Next morning, it may be stated, Anniple met 
Campbell on his way to Tarbet and led him over the 
hills to Glen Fruin where he attained his desire of 
meeting Lord James. Gait need not have feared to 
have made Campbell take MacFarlane into his con- 
fidence, for however well affected towards King James, 
it is inconceivable that a MacFarlane chief would 
have betrayed a scion of the house of Lennox, his own 
kith and kin. — Editor). 

The danger Lord James ran in Glen Fruin is 
illustrated by the following remark of the hypothetical 
chieftain of that name to Campbell during their 
soj ourn at his castle. 

" Al in good time, Celestine Campbell, my very goot 
young friend, and we wiU pe telling you al. Do you 
know. King's herald, tat te Macaulay — ah he is te 
false and te traitor, too — oomph ! was na he wi' te 
Lord Hameis (James) and tat Peeshop o' Pelzeebub, 
te Peeshop o' Lismore when tey prunt te town o' 
Dumbarton — and to MacFarlane — God tam te Mac- 
Farlane — he Hfted al te catties from te lands o' Lennox, 

20 History of Clan MacFarlane 

and te Glenf ruins were na left te halph of a two-score — 
oomph ! And would na it pe a pail and a ransom for 
Glenf ruin to te King's Majestie — to catch te Macaulay 
— oomph ! " 

A further interesting extract is from a volume, 
published at Jena, in 1866, by Dr. Richard Andree, 
" Vom Tweed zur Pentlandfohrde." In this account 
of a visit to Scotland the author gives a picture of a 
splendid specimen of the race : — 

" At the gate of Taymouth Castle he was met by an 
old keeper. The old MacFarlane was a magnificent 
figure of a Highlander. He had eighty years behind 
him, yet he was fresh and strong for his age, his gait 
was straight and upright, his hair silver- white, his 
cheeks rosy. The naked calves, that showed from 
under his short Campbell tartan kilt, were rigid as a 
young man's, and the years had not been able to 
quench the fire of his eyes. They shone with a strange 
brilliance when he spoke of his eventful life. In his 
early years he had been a soldier, and had served with 
Wellington in the Peninsula. Later he fought with 
the Forty- Second Highland Regiment at Waterloo. 
Later he fought against Napoleon's breast- plated 
cavalry. He had seen the nobility of France in flight, 
and had turned back home to the mountains of his 
beloved Scotland." 

In later times Neil Munro in his fine Highland novel's, 
particularly " Doom Castle," makes frequent references 
to the clan, but in its decay. He appears to regard our 
progenitors as a race of freebooters without a redeeming 
quality, but that was necessary for his purpose. 

It would seem that the greater the distance from the 
ancient home, the greater becomes the clansman's love 
of the old traditions. Many years ago, a Mrs. 
Macfarlane Little, of Statin Island, U.S.A., spent a 
long hohday at Arrochar, collecting material for a book, 
which she subsequently published under the title of 
" Clan Farlan." 

Introductory 21 

While guilty of several serious inaccuracies, Mrs. 
Little is entitled to our acknowledgments for making 
the first serious effort towards collecting, in permanent 
form, the history and records of the clan. That she 
was imbued with the zeal and fervour of the true 
clanswoman there can be no doubt. That spirit 
breathes through the impressions of her first visit to 
Arrochar, written in i8gi. 

"As we neared Arrochar, the loch, now reaching 
its head, narrows till it is but half a mile wide. The 
scenery becomes grand, sublime, awesome. The 
towering mountains, between which we glide, seem to 
come down and bathe their feet in the placid waters. 
Their sides are treeless, green to their summits, with 
patches of bare brown rocks just visible through the 
short grass, with here and there a yellow flaming bush 
of the ' bonny, bonny broom.' 

The rain, which had fallen for several days, had sent 
rills down these steep sides till they foamed like rifts of 
snow from top to bottom. The hoarse thunder, 
hurled from peak to peak, added grandeur to the scene, 
until the sun suddenly burst out, as if to give the 
wanderers a welcome, and a rainbow lay down the 
mountain side, its gay colours touching the water. 

" The loch, which had been black, in a few minutes 
reflected the mountains, till one might have fancied it 
a grassy lawn. 

" When the sun dropped like a ball of fire behind the 
mountains that, grouped, stand like grim sentinels 
over the little hamlet, they became violet- coloured, 
then took on the hue that one sees on a great purple 
plum, with the ' down ' upon it. 

" On the western side of the loch rise Ben Tme and 
Cuilessen Hill, while beyond and above rises, in great 
majesty and grandeur, Ben Arthur, also called the 
Cobbler, to a height of 2,400 feet ; his fantastic peak 
so cracked and broken by countless years of frost and 
rain that it bears a striking resemblance to a cobbler 

22 History of Clan MacFarlane 

at work, his wife in front of him, with a ' mutch ' upon 
her head. This is one of the range that presents so 
formidable an appearance, and is pointed out to the 
tourist descending Loch Lomond as the Arrochar 

" From the Inn at Arrochar the traveller winds 
around the head of Loch Long, passing the gates of 
beautiful Stronafine, crossing the picturesque stone 
bridge, beneath which the Taing flows into the loch, and 
skirting the western shore by a road cut from the side 
of the mountain, turning to the right within a few yards 
of Ardgarten, and enters Glencroe, a desolate but 
magnificent glen guarded on the right by Ben Arthur. 
The steep carriage-road winds up for seven miles ; 
while upon the summit may be found a stone bearing 
the very appropriate inscription, " Rest and be 
thankful." Descending upon the other side, some 
miles away, hes Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Duke 
of Argyll. As our traveller retraces his steps and 
crosses again the bridge, at his left lies Glenloin, up 
which cattle have often been driven by the light of 
MacFarlane's ' lantern.' In the distance Ben Voirlich 
is seen, upon whose side is the ' lonely tarn,' Loch Sloy. 
Along the eastern side of the loch are the houses of 
Arrochar, built all of grey stone, and half concealed by 
hedges of the green shining hawthorn. On an eminence 
overlooking the water, stands ' Arrochar House,' 
surrounded by its well kept, flower- decked, lawns and 
noble trees ; just below are the Established Church 
and Manse, the latter a commodious house, its grey 
walls brightened by the ivy and magnificent climbing 
roses that attain such perfection in the climate ; here, 
too, are velvet lawns and lofty trees, and wherever the 
eye turns, it meets a view of sublimity and grandeur ; 
a rare spot in this vale of sohtude, a home well suited 
to the quiet, cultured tastes of its happy and contented 

" On this side some mighty power seems to have 

Introductory 23 

said to the eternal mountains, ' Stand back ! ' for from 
this point runs the Isthmus that connects Arrochar 
and Tarbet — Loch Lomond and Loch Long. The 
fine macadamised road, two miles in length, with 
hedges in which the birds were singing, and ancient 
oaks on either side, was once the broad avenue that ran 
through MacFarlane's Park. On the left of this road 
leaving Arrochar may be seen a small fragment of stone 
foundation, said to have been a stronghold in which 
MacFarlane placed his family when the Danes ravaged 
Arrochar in 1263. 

" Still nearer this last mentioned place, on the right, 
the oak trees, which stand with great regularity, here 
form a crescent, and the remains of a mound are seen, 
said to have been MacFarlane's watch-tower. Just 
below the Free Kirk Manse at Tarbet, near the water's 
edge, stood the Chief's house, before the old castle was 
built at Arrochar, and near it are several mounds. 

'" A clergyman, whose father was the schoolmaster 
at Arrochar, told us that in his boyhood, his companions 
would not play there in the gloaming, because, upon 
one of these mounds MacFarlane hung his criminals. 

" But it is in ' Arrochar House ' our interest centres, 
and imagination peoples it with brave men and fair 
women. The vision fades, and we now realise that a 
century has passed, that this is a new world, the 
descendants of our clan are peopHng it, and, untram- 
meled by the traditions of the past, emancipated from 
the gradations of rank, with hand and brain they have 
worked out their own destiny, and have heaped wealth, 
honom-, and distinction upon the ancient and revered 
name of MacFarlane." 

But it is not clansmen and clanswomen alone, who 
have been impressed by the beauty of the MacFarlane 
country. Mr. George Eyre-Todd, a notable student of 
Scottish history and folk-lore, has written, 

" One of the loveliest regions in the West Highlands 
is the district about the head of Loch Long and Loch 

24 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Lomond, which was for some five centuries the patri- 
mony of the Chiefs of the MacFarlane clan. With the 
waves of one of the most beautiful sea lochs of the 
Clyde rippling far into its recesses, and the tideless 
waters of the Queen of Scottish lochs sleeping under the 
birch- clad slopes on another side, while high among its 
fastnesses, between the towering heights of Ben Arthur 
and Ben Voirlich, shimmers in a silver lane the jewel- 
like Loch Sloy, this ancient territory could not but, in 
the course of centuries, produce a race of men instinct 
with the love of the mountains and the moors, and with 
all the chivalrous qualities which go to make the 
traditional character of the Highlanders of Scotland. 
This is nothing less than fact in the case of Clan 

Then the Rev. H. S. Winchester, B.D., Minister of 
Arrochar, at the time of the Great European War, 
expressed similar sentiments : — " The tourist guide- 
books and railway time-tables advertise Arrochar as a 
peaceful summer resort. They tell of its lochs and its 
fishing streams, of its golf and its pleasant excursions, 
its comfortable hotels with their moderate prices. 

" Dorothy Wordsworth, looking back upon her soj ourn 
there, with her brother William, and the poet Coleridge, 
remembers Arrochar as a place where it always rains, 
where the mountains are grand and the people are 
simple, and where every woman carried a green 
umbrella. Burns, who must have been in a specially 
bad mood when he passed that way, writes of Arrochar 
as ' land of savage hills, swept by savage rains, peopled 
by savage sheep, tended by savage people.' 

"And the ordinary summer visitor remembers how he 
fished in Loch Long, or sweated to the top of the 
Cobbler, or tramped the old road up Glen Loin to lonely 
Loch Sloy, or crossed Loch Lomond to visit Loch 
Katrine and the Trossachs, or sailed to Rowardennan 
to climb Ben Lomond. 

Introductory 25 

" Now, however much truth there may be in all these 
descriptions, none of them tell anything of the really 
interesting Arrochar, the wild, romantic Arrochar of 
long ago. And if one were to seek to advertise this 
romantic Arrochar, he would tell of the grey days when 
the clouds hang their veils of mystery along the 
mountain tops, and the mists throw their fringes deep 
into the valleys ; he would speak of the moonlight 
nights when Loch Lomond lies black and eerie among 
the shadows, when the Cobbler sees himself reflected 
from the fairy world which sleeps in the silvery depths 
of Loch Long, when the owl hoots and the heron 
screams, and when the ghosts of the wild MacFarlanes 
look out from the shadow of the rocks, or move noiseless 
among the black firs on the hill side. He would 
mention Tighvechtan and Ballyhennan, and Tomna- 
croich and Tomnahianish, and all the other barbarous- 
like places which say so little to the stranger but which 
mean so much. For this is the true Arrochar, the 
romantic Arrochar, which anyone may see and hear 
and feel if he will listen to the old folks, and if he will 
take the trouble to learn the story of the uncouth 

" Now, if a stranger seeks to interest himself in these 
matters, the first thing that strikes him is this — 
wherever he turns he meets the MacFarlanes. If it be 
the name of the parish — its meaning is found in a 
MacFarlane charter ; the odd-looking place names — 
they had their origin in some deed of a MacFarlane ; 
the tales of the old folks — the motif of every one is 
some doing of the MacFarlane ; the church records, 
the church bell, the very chalices for Holy Communion, 
the mark of the MacFarlane is over them all. One 
then begins to realise the full meaning of the words in 
the ' old statistical account ' of Arrochar, written 
about 1790, ' The greater part of the people of this 
parish are MacFarlanes, who have always had, till 
lately, a strong attachment to their chief ' 

2,6 History of Clan MacFarlane 

" Arrochar is now a peaceful summer resort among the 
hills. Tighnaclach and Tighness sleep by the sparkling 
waters of Loch Long ■ Tarbet nestles in its trees in the 
sunshine, and looks out on the dark Loch Lomond, 
stretching in shady bays and wooded headlands far 
into the shadow of the Ben ; the stronghold on Eilan-a- 
bhuth is a bracken- covered ruin among the trees, and 
nothing is left of the ancient home of the MacFarlanes 
at Inveruglas except a few black firs upon the hill side, 
sole survivors of the once great forest which covered 
the land ; and nothing breaks the stillness save the 
scream of the wild fowl or the sound of the steamer's 

" But to one who remembers the Arrochar of other 
days, there is more in each scene than meets the eye. 
As evening falls and the mists sweep down the hill sides, 
he can see the forms of stalwart men, he can catch the 
gleam of the broadsword, and hear the hoarse shouts 
of the fray, he can see the driven cattle and the black 
MacFarlanes out to claim their toll of the Lowland- 
man's wealth. Or, as the moonlight floods loch and 
valley and hill tip, till Ben Arthur is seen as clearly in 
the depths of Loch Long as in the light of midday, the 
onlooker who remembers, holds his breath lest the wild 
cry ' Loch Sloy ' ring out from Stronafyne hill, and go 
echoing along Glen Tarbet, to be repeated from hill to 
hill, tiU it rouses Portanchuple and Inveruglas, and 
passes onward to Ardleish and Garabub. Each place 
name, so grotesque and meaningless, sets loose a 
phantom procession, stretching back into the mist of 
the years, the wild picturesque romantic Arrochar of 
by-gone days." 

Gilchrist 27 


Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Alwyn, 2nd Earl. Alexander II., 1214-1239. 

Malduin, 3rd Earl. Alexander III., 1249-1286. 

GILCHRIST, the founder of the famHy of Mac 
Farlane, was either the fourth or fifth son of 
Alwyn, second Earl of Lennox. 

From his brother, Earl Malduin, he obtained for his 
patrimony, the lands and barony of Arrochar in the 
upper part of the earldom of Lennox, as is shown by 
the following extract from the original charter : — 

" Terras de superiori Arrochar de Luss jacentes inter 
rivulos qui vocantur Aldyvach et AldquchuHn ex una 
parte, et rivulos qui vocantur Hernan Hinys et Trostan 
ex altera parte, una cum insuHs de Elanvow, Elanvanow 
Elanrouglas et Elaig." 

Translated, this reads — 

" The lands of Upper Arrochar down from Luss, 
lying between the small brooks which are called 
Aldyvach and Oldquchulin on one side and the small 
brooks which are called Hernan Kings and Trostan on 
the other side, together with the islands of Elanvow, 
Elanvanow, Elanrouglas and Elaig." 

This charter bears no date, but was granted in the 
reign of King Alexander II., between 1225 and 1239, 
probably in the first mentioned year, upon Malduin 
becoming Earl of Lennox by the death of his father, 

The terms of this charter were subsequently con- 
firmed in a similar document granted to John, the 

28 History of Clan MacFarlane 

seventh Chief of MacFarlane, on 13th February, 1420, 
under the Great Seal of King James I. of Scotland. 

Gilchrist, under the designation of " Brother of the 
Earl," appears as witness to many of Earl Malduin's 
charters granting lands to vassals. Of special interest 
is one to Anselm MacBeth of Buchanan, of the Isle of 
Clare- Inch in Loch Lomond, dated in 1225, and another 
to William, son of Arthur de Galbraith,- of the two 
carrucates of Baldernock, dated at Fintry in 1238. 

Haco's devastating foray of 1263 probably occurred 
in Gilchrist's time. Olaf , King of Man, with sixty ships, 
appeared in Loch Long. The landing of the Norsemen 
at the head of the loch was opposed by the Arrochar 
people who suffered defeat. The battle was fought at 
Ballyhennan, on some raised ground immediately to 
the west of the railway embankment and a little below 
the pubHc road. Above the village of Arrochar, 
according to tradition, stood a stronghold in which the 
Chief is said to have placed his family for security. 
Further along the short valley, lying between Arrochar 
and Tarbet, is the ancient burial ground of Ballyhennan, 
a httle to the east of the battlefield. Here it is said the 
clansmen slain in the battle were interred. Two sHght 
mounds in the grounds of Arrochar House are believed 
to mark the graves of slaughtered Danes. 

After laying waste the country bordering Loch Long 
(at Knockderry is or was a small fort supposed to be of 
Danish origin), the invaders ran their vessels ashore at 
the head of the loch. Unshipping their smaller boats, 
they dragged these through the valley, and launched 
them on Loch Lomond. This feat is described in the 
Norwegian chronicle. 

" The persevering shielded warriors of the throwers 
of the whizzing spear drew their boats across the broad 
isthmus. Our fearless troops, exactors of contributions, 
with flaming brands, wasted the populous islands in the 
lake, and the mansions around its winding bays." 

Loch Lomond, from its retired situation, writes 

Gilchrist 29 

Irving, had been deemed little exposed to attack ; and 
on some of the islands were numbers of people who, 
not anticipating the extraordinary measures which the 
persevering enterprise of the vikings enabled them to 
carry into execution, had taken refuge in a retreat 
which they esteemed perfectly secure. 

To their terror and dismay, the flotilla of the 
Norsemen was upon them before any plan of defence 
could be adopted. Multitudes of the people were put 
to the sword, and the country around the lake, then a 
wealthy and populous district, studded with villages, 
and fertile in agricultural produce, was reduced in a few 
days to an arid smoking desert, strewn with the dead 
bodies of the inhabitants, the smouldering fires of 
plundered granges, and the blackened ruins of cottages 
and castles. 

From Loch Lomond one of the Norse chiefs, named 
Allan, the brother of Prince Dugal, at the head of a 
wild multitude, penetrated into the heart of Dum- 
bartonshire and Stirlingshire with similar excesses. 

But scarcely had the Norwegians secured their 
plunder in their vessels in Loch Long, when the fleet was 
attacked by a hurricane, which drove the whole of the 
ships from their moorings, and reduced ten of them to 
complete wrecks. 

The storm raged for three days. During that time 
the Scottish soldiery dominated the Norwegian fleet 
from the heights above Loch Long and the Firth of 
Clyde, Haco was finally defeated at the Battle of 

Alluding to the dragging of the boats from Arrochar 
to Tarbet, Fraser writes, " At this neck of land it was 
anciently the practise to drag boats across between 
Loch Long and Loch Lomond. Hence the Gaelic 
name, Turnbat, which signifies ' draw the boat.' " 

30 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Duncan — Second Chief. 
1284- 1296. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Malcolm, 4th Earl, 1248-1292. Alexander III., 1249-1286. 
Malcolm, 5th Earl, 1292-1333. Margaret, 1286-1290. 

Interregnum, 1290-1292. 

John Balliol, 1292-1296. 

Sir Wm. Wallace, i 296-1 305. 

GILCHRIST'S son and successor, Duncan, was 
designated in the charters of his times, 
" Duncanus filius Gilchrist or M' Gilchrist. 
From his cousin, Malcolm, Fourth Earl of Lennox, he 
received a charter of confirmation of the lands of 
Arrochar, whereby the Earl ratifies and confirms : 

" Donationem illam quam Malduinus avus meus 
fecit Gilchrist fratri suo de terris de Superior! Arrochar 
de Luss coram his testibus Domino Simoni Flandreuse, 
Domino Duncano fiho Amelick, Domino Henrico de 
Ventere Ponte et Malcolmo de Drumeth." 

This reads : — 

" That gift which my uncle Malduin made to his 
brother Gilchrist of the lands of Upper Arrochar down 
from Luss, in the presence of these witnesses : Master 
Simon Flandreuse, Master Duncan, son of Amelick, 
Master Henry of Ventere Ponte (lit. trans. Belly 
Bridge) and Malcolm of Drumeth." 

This charter, although undated (very usual amongst 
the older charters), by the names of the witnesses, 
appears to have been granted before 1284, As in the 

Duncan — Second Chief 31 

case of the original one granted to Gilchrist, it was 
subsequently ratified under the Great Seal of King 
James I. of Scotland. 

Duncan appears as a witness to a charter granted by 
Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, to Michael M'Kessan, of the 
lands of Garchell and Ballat. He married Matilda, 
daughter of the Fourth Earl. 

It is stated that, after a gallant defence of the 
national independence, Duncan with most of the great 
men of his country, was compelled to submit to 
Edward I. of England. He was one of the subscribers 
to the bond of submission, called Ragman's Roll, anno 
1296, Therein he is designated, Duncanus filius 
Gilchrist de Levenax. 

Duncan is stated to have died soon after that date. 

32 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Malduin — Third Chief. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Malcolm, 5th Earl, 1292-1333. Sir Wm. Wallace, 1296-1305. 
Robert I., 1306-1329. 

DUNCAN was succeeded by his son Malduin, who, 
it is recorded, possessed all his father's lands, 
and inherited his unflinching patriotism. In 
the train of Malcolm, 5th Earl of Lennox, Malduin was 
a faithful adherent of Robert the Bruce, succouring 
and shielding his king after his memorable escape from 
the Macdougalls of Lorn at Tyndrum in the winter of 

It was after the battle at Methven, Bruce had taken 
shelter in Donside, but finding himself in danger even 
there, he crossed the mountains, meaning to seek 
refuge in Kintyre. He had j ust reached Tjmdrum, at 
the entrance to Glenfalloch, when he was waylaid by 
the Macdougalls, and escaped with the utmost difQculty. 
Then, by some strange mischance, he and his followers, 
after descending Glenfalloch, found themselves on the 
east side of Loch Lomond, whereas the road to Kintj^re 
lay through Tarbet Glen on the western side. Barbour 
tells the tale of how, when the hunted king and his 
little company were wandering down the steep and 
pathless banks, seeking for a means to cross, Douglas 
at length found an old boat, which, with much patching 
and mending, could ferry over two men at a time ; how, 
all through the long night, the weary band stood and 
waited, while the little boat went and came, till all were 

Malduin — ^Third Chief 33 

safely ferried across to the western shore. At Firkin, 
about three miles south of Tarbet, there stands an 
ancient yew, still known as Bruce's tree. Under the 
shelter of this tree, Bruce stood in the midst of his 
followers who had crossed, entertaining them with tales 
of chivalry all that night, and wiling away the time, 
while the frail boat was plying its j ourneys. 

A little way up Glenloin is Bruce's cave, which is 
large and commodious, and could hold about fifty men. 
Here, runs the legend, the king and his followers found 
shelter for the night before commencing their long 
journey by Glencroe to Argyllshire and the safety of 

Bruce's adventures in the Arrochar country are thus 
detailed by Barbour : — 

" While hunting on the hills of Arrochar they were 
joined by Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, who, under every 
reverse, remained true to Bruce, and who, to protect 
himself from the English, had been compelled to seek 
shelter in the fortresses of his earldom. The Earl had 
not seen the King since his defeat at Methven, and 
having learned nothing concerning him, had been 
apprehensive that, exposed as he was to so many 
dangers, he had probably gone the way of all the earth. 
At the very time that Bruce and his companions were 
engaged in the chase, Lennox happened to be similarly 
occupied in the neighbourhood. Having heard the 
sound of the King's hunting horn, he was struck with 
surprise, and on making inquiries, discovered who the 
illustrious strangers were, upon which, along with his 
attendants, he hastened to the spot whence the sound 
proceeded, and found his beloved sovereign. The joy 
of the monarch and of his faithful subject, who had 
not seen each other for a protracted period, at this 
unexpected meeting may be imagined. Lennox fell 
upon his royal master's arms, and, big with emotion, 
burst into tears, while Bruce, not less deeply moved, 
tenderly clasped his arms around the Earl, and spoke 


34 History of Clan MacFarlane 

to him in encouraging and hopeful words. All the 
lords of Bruce' s party present, gladdened at meeting 
with Lennox and his friends, gave demonstration of 
their warm affection towards them, the more so that 
friends now met, who not only had not seen each other 
for many a day, but who were even ignorant of each 
other's safety. This natural burst of joy, mingled 
with sadness, having subsided, the Earl did not fail to 
observe the wretched plight to which his sovereign and 
his followers were reduced ; and delighted that he had 
now an opportunity of giving substantial proofs of his 
loyalty, he quickly conducted them to a secure retreat, 
where they were provided with an abundant repast, 
such as they had not for a long time enjoyed. All 
having partaken heartily of the repast, the King rose 
up, and, with all the fervour of his heart, thanked the 
Earl for his noble and generous hospitality, and 
expressed the joy which this unexpected meeting had, 
under the circumstances, caused to them aU. At the 
request of Bruce, Lennox and his friends related their 
perilous adventures and hardships in their efforts to 
escape capture by the English. This relation touched 
the chords of sympathy in Bruce's heart, and in his turn 
he rehearsed the dangers, toils, and troubles, through 
which he himself had passed since he had last seen 
them. The tempest-tossed warriors, having thus 
recounted their respective adventures, behoved now to 
part ; for Arrochar, though the territories of the Earl 
of Lennox and his cousins the MacFarlanes, could not 
at that time have afforded a secure asylum for Bruce. 
To have prolonged his stay in a district adjoining that 
of Argyll, where were powerful families, all friends of 
the Comyns, and all at the service of the Lord of Lorn, 
who had complete possession of the roads and passes, 
would have been dangerous, and, besides, many of the 
Earl's vassals, in the hope of reward, were ready, 
should opportunity offer, to violate their allegiance by 
arresting the King and delivering him up to the 

Malduin — ^Third Chief 35 

English. Accordingly, Bruce having reminded the 
Earl that time being urgent, he must hasten to Kintyre ; 
and having entreated Lennox to follow speedily, with 
such a number of men as he could collect in his earldom 
on the spur of the moment, bade him farewell, and 
pressed forward to Kintyre. 

The magnanimous Earl made haste to j oin his royal 
master, but in passing down the Firth of Clyde with 
his men he was pursued by some galleys manned with 
a hostile party of the district, from which he escaped 
only by lightening the galley in which he was con- 
ducted, to enable it to sail the faster." 

As he had been partner in his adversities, the Chief 
of MacFarlane was also partaker in the king's sub- 
sequent successes. The clan, under the banner of 
Lennox, was present at the Battle of Bannockburn, 
and shared in the honour and glory of that great 

Robert I. granted a charter to Dougal MacFarlane 
of the lands of Kindowie and Argushouche, etc., but 
who this Dougal was we are unable to discover. 


36 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Parlan — Fourth Chief. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Malcolm, 5th Earl, 1292-1333. David II., 1329-1371. 

Donald, 6th Earl, 1333-13 73. 

ALL that is known of the son of Malduin is that he 
Hved in the reign of David IL, but his place 
in this chronicle is of first importance, as he gave 
a permanent surname to his house and his Clan. 

The Gaehc Pharlan or Partholan means in EngUsh 
Bartholomew. As we have seen, the second chief was 
known as Duncan MacGilchrist (son of Gilchrist), and 
presumably Malduin's surname was MacDuncan or 
MacGilchrist, but from Pharlan's son onwards the 
surname MacFarlane became fixed. 

There are at least two later instances of a cadet 
taking his father's Christian name as surname. The 
sept of MacAUan is descended from the son of an Allan 
MacFarlane, while the descendants of a chief's son, 
referred to later, eschewed the clan name and described 
themselves as Thomsons or Thomasons (sons of 
Thomas). There are besides, many instances of the 
rank and file of the Clan taking other names, or of 
having these bestowed upon them, which accounts for 
the numerous septs. Some of these changes were due 
to the clansman's vocation, as Stalker, Miller, etc., but 
others were adopted from motives of prudence, when 
the Clan came into conflict with the authorities. 
Mad an in presenting the family coat- of- arms, previous 
to the addition of the well known demi- savage crest. 

Parlan — Fourth Chief 37 

spells the name above the device MacPharlan. To-day 
we have such variants as MacFarlan, MacFarlane, 
McFarlane, MacFarlin, and MacFarland, but they are 
all " Jock Tamson's bairns." 

Buchanan writes : — " Malduin's son and successor 
was Partholan or Parian, from whose proper name the 
family obtained the patronomical name of McPharlane 
or Pharlansons, being, as it is asserted, for three 
descents before the assumption of this, surnamed 
McGilchrist. Some of these have retained that surname 
(McGilchrist) as yet, who nevertheless own them- 
selves to be cadets of the family of MacFarlanes." 

Strangely enough, MacGilchrist is not now regarded 
as a sept of MacFarlane, being attributed to the 
Ogilvys and MacLachlans. 

38 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Malcolm — ^Fifth Chief. 

Earls of Leunox. Scottish Riilen. 

Donald, 6th Eari, 1333-1373. David II., 1329-1371. 

Walter, 7th Earl, 1373-1385. Robert II., 1371-1390. 

MALCOLM MACFARLANE, so designed in the 
two following charters, succeeded his father, 
Parian or Bartholomew, and obtained from his 
cousin, Donald, Earl of Lennox, upon the resignation 
of his father, Bartholomew, son of Malduin, a charter 
of confirmation of the said lands and islands, in as 
ample a manner as his predecessors held the same, as 
the charter itself, yet extant, expressly bears ; — 

" Adeo libere, quiete, et honorifice, in omnibus et 
per omnia, sicut charta originalis facta per antecessores 
nostros, antecessoribus dicti Malcolmi, plenius in se 
proportat, etc. ..." 

"Testatur, hiis testibus Malcolmo Fleming Comite 
de Wigton, Joanne Steuart de Dernley, Patricio 
Fleeming de Weddal, militibus, etc." 

" As equally, as freely, amply, peacefully and 
honourably in all points as in the charter granted by 
our predecessors to the said Malcolm's ancestors, the 
right devolves on him, etc. — Witnesses, Malcolm of 
Wigton, John Stewart of Darnley, Patrick Fleming 
of Weddal (soldiers)." 

This charter seems, by the witnesses, to have been 
granted about the year 1344. 

He received also from the said Earl another charter 
dated Bellach, May 4th, 1354, whereby the Earl freely 

Malcolm — Fifth Chief 39 

discharges him and his heirs of four marks of feu duty, 
payable yearly out of the said lands, and that, " not 
only for bygones, but even also for the time to come." 

Malcolm married, but who the lady was, is not 
known. By her he had a son, Duncan. 

" We must here observe," writes the historian, 
" that Donald, sixth Earl of Lennox, dying without 
sons anno 1373, in him ended the whole male Hue of the 
three elder sons of Alwyn, second Earl of Lennox, 
whereby the representation of that noble family 
devolved upon Malcolm MacFarlane, his undoubted 
heir male (being grandson's grandson of Gilchrist, 
fourth son of Earl Alwyn). But as the said Earl, 
Donald, contrary to the ancient feudal system, left his 
whole estate to his daughter. Countess Margaret, this 
Malcolm MacFarlane declined claiming a dignity which 
he thought he had not estate sufficient to support. 
He died soon thereafter and was succeeded by his son, 

40 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Duncan — Sixth Chief. 
1395- 1406. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Walter, 7th Earl, 1373-1385. Robert II., 1371-1390. 

Duncan, 8th Earl, 1385-1425. Robert III., 1390-1406. 

James I., 1406-1437. 

DUNCAN, promiscuously designated "of that Ilk," 
and of Arrochar, was the son of Malcolm. He 
received from Duncan, 8th Earl of Lennox, 
described as his cousin, a charter of confirmation of his 
lands, which is dated at the Earl's " Mansion-house of 
Inchmirin," loth June, 1395. In this charter Duncan 
is designed " Dilectus et specialis noster Duncanus 
MacFarlane filius et haeres quoncham Malcomi 
MacFarlane domini de Arrochar." (Our chosen and 
special Duncan MacFarlane, son and heir formerly of 
Malcolm MacFarlane, Lord of Arrochar) . The ^\itnesses 
to this charter are Walter Buchanan of that Ilk, 
Humphrey Colquhoun, first of that surname to 
be laird of Luss, Niel of Balnory, Duncan CampbeU 
of Gaunan, and Malcolm McAlpine. The lands, 
as described in this charter were, " between the 
river Djniach and Aldanchwhyn on the one side, 
and the rivers Aman, Innis and Trostane on the other 
side, with the islands of Elanvow, Elanvanow, Elan- 
do wglas and Elaig, in the Earldom of Lennox." 

Duncan married Christian Campbell, a daughter of 
Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, ancestor of the Dukes of 
Argyll. This marriage is attested by a hferent 



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Duncan — Sixth Chief 41 

charter granted by Duncan in favour of Christian, 
of the lands of Keanlochlong, Inveriock, Glenluin and 
Portcable, before the following witnesses, John 
Campbell, Dean of Argyle, Duncan Campbell of Gaunan, 
John McColman, etc. This charter is also dated 1395. 

Besides his eldest son, John, who succeeded him, 
Duncan had another son named Thomas, who founded 
the family of Clachbuy, cadets of which are dispersed 
through the Western Isles. From his proper name, 
Thomas's descendants called themselves MacCauses 
(Thomas's sons) or Thomson. These are included 
amongst the septs of the Clan. 

Duncan died in the reign of James I. 

Another account, by the Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair, 
LL.D., says Duncan's children were : — Duncan, Colin, 
David, and a daughter. 

42 History of Clan MacFarlane 


John — Seventh Chief. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Countess Isabella, 1425-1452. James I., 1406-1437. 

James II., 1437-1460. 

JOHN, son of Duncan, married Jean, daughter of 
Sir Adam Mure, of Rowallan, and sister of 
Elizabeth Mure, first wife of King Robert II., 
and is witness to a charter granted in the year 1426. 
He died in the beginning of the reign of James II. 

That practically nothing is chronicled relating to this 
chief, may be due to the fact that the adherents of 
Lennox and Albany were, like their lords, under the 
king's displeasure. Duncan, the aged Earl of Lennox, 
and Murdoch, Duke of Albany, his son-in-law, husband 
to the Countess Isabel, with two of their sons were all 
executed in 1425. 

We have noted that the charters of Gilchrist and his 
son Duncan were confirmed under the Great Seal of 
James I. in 1420, but as that date is prior by four years 
to the beginning of the king's actual reign, on his return 
from exile in England, the presumption is that these 
confirmations were the act of Albany as Regent, on 
representations made by the Chief of MacFarlane 
through the Earl of Lennox. 

Duncan— Eighth Chief 43 


Duncan — Eighth Chief. 


Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Countess Isabella, 1425-1452. James II., 1437-1460. 

James III., 1460-1488. 

DUNCAN was served, and returned, heir to his 
father on January i8th, 1441. He had two 
sons, Walter, his heir, and John, progenitor of 
the MacFarlanes of Kenmore, from whom are descended 
the MacFarlanes of Muckroy, Auchinvenal More, and 
Dunnamaninch in the North of Ireland. Auchinvenal 
More is in Glen Fruin, and Muckroy in Argyllshire. 
Kenmore is on Lochlomondside between Tarbet and 

Duncan died in the reign of James III. 
The battle of Stale, fought 1468, belongs either to 
Duncan's period or that of his son, Walter. A stone 
commemorating this clan fight was erected by Lt.-Col. 
A. King Stewart of Acknacor, Appin, and bears this 
inscription : — 

A.D. 1468. 
" Above this spot was fought the bloody 
battle of Stale, in which many hundreds fell, 
when the Stewarts and Maclarens, their AlUes, 
in defence of Dugald, Chief of Appin, son of 
John Stewart, Lord of Lorn and Innermeath, 
defeated the combined forces of the 
MacDougalls and MacFarlanes." 

The scene of the battle lies just behind the monument 
— a veritable shell crater, but on a more magnificent 
scale than the modern ones. Stale is in Appin, Argyll, 
and we are inclined to assume that some of the Argyll- 
shire MacFarlanes were the allies of the MacDougalls 
on this occasion, as Appin is " a far cry " from Arrochar. 

44 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Walter — Ninth Chief, 

Earls of Lejinox. Scottish Rulers. 

Interregnum. James III., 1460-1488. 

IN a charter under the Great Seal, from King 
James HI., to the town of Dumbarton, "Walter 
MacFarlane of that Ilk is designated " Domi 
de Arrochar," etc. This charter is dated i486. 

He married the only daughter of James, second 
Lord Livingstone, and by her had two sons, Andrew, 
who succeeded him, and Dugal, who founded the family 
of Tullichintall (Tullich is in and around Glen Douglas), 
from whom come the MacFarlanes of Finart, Gorton, 

If the story of " The Piebald Horse " is to be accepted 
as fact, Walter ended his career on the field of Sauchie- 
burn, in 1488. 

There seems no doubt that following the decay of 
their parent house of Lennox, the Clan of MacFarlane, 
either in Walter's time or that of his son, Andrew, 
passed through a perilous period. The whole reign of 
James III. was disturbed by the rebellions of the great 
barons. Taking advantage of the weakness of the 
king, the heirs general to the lands of Lennox, John 
Stewart, Master of Darnley, and Sir John Haldane of 
Gleneagles, descended respectively from the third and 
second sisters of the Countess Isabella, advanced 
pretensions also, to the title of Earl of Lennox. 
Darnley, after the death of the Countess Isabella, in 
1452, actually assumed the dignity without warrant. 
Apparently the Chief of MacFarlane revived the claim 

Walter — ^Ninth Chief 45 

of heir male, and, according to the accounts of Brown 
and Buchanan, " offered a strenuous opposition to the 
pretentions of the feudal heir. Their resistance, 
however, proved alike unsuccessful and disastrous. 
The chief and all his family perished in defence of what 
they believed to be their just rights. The Clan 
suffered severely, and of those who survived the 
struggle, the greater part took refuge in remote parts 
of the country. Stewart of Darnley finally overcame 
all opposition and succeeded to the Earldom of Lennox 
in 1488. 

The destruction of the Clan would now have been 
inevitable, but for the opportune support given by a 
gentleman of the Clan to the Darnley family. He had 
married a daughter of John Stewart, who became 
ninth Earl of Lennox, to whom his assistance had been 
of great moment at a time of difificulty. He saved the 
remnant of the Clan, and recovered the greater part of 
their hereditary possessions. 

Andrew, however, does not appear to have possessed 
any other title to the chiefship than what he derived 
from his position, and the circumstance of his being 
the only person in a condition to afford them pro- 
tection ; in fact, the Clan refused him the title of Chief, 
which they appear to have considered incommunicable, 
except in the right line ; and his son, Sir John 
MacFarlane, accordingly, contented himself with 
assuming the title of "Captain of the Clan." 

We have quoted the passage in full, in order to 
contradict the last paragraph. These historians have 
manifestly based their assumptions on a belief that 
Captain was a title inferior to, or differing from, that of 
" Chief," whereas the two are interchangeable terms. 
It is inconceivable that there existed a MacFarlane, 
other than the chief, with sufl&cient power — that is to 
say, in men — to be of any real service to the Master of 
Darnley, and of such station as to command the hand 
of his daughter in marriage. We prefer to rely upon 

46 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Douglas and Nisbet, who give this " gentleman of the 
Clan " as the actual son of Walter, the ninth chief. 
We suggest that the probabilities are, that when the 
Clan made its submission to Darnley after the defeats 
above recorded, the compact was cemented by the 
marriage of the chief with one of Darnley' s daughters. 
Such an arrangement was consonant with Darnley's 
policy to win to his cause the principal men of the 
Lennox against his rival Haldane, who, with the 
exception of MacFarlane the undoubted heir male, had 
certainly a prior claim, being senior to Darnley as a 
cadet of the Lennox family. 

In 1473 Darnley obtained a royal precept declaring 
him heir, not only of half the lands, but of the title of 
Earl of Lennox, and was finally invested in it, as 
Buchanan states, in 1488. 

Now, to reconstruct the situation upon the basis of 
history. We know that Darnley supported the barons, 
in whose possession was the prince, afterwards James 
IV., against James III. If Walter MacFarlane, as 
seems probable, supported the king, what is more 
likely than that Darnley, already in possession of the 
chief Lennox strongholds, Inch Murrin and Catter, 
in retaliation, carried fire and sword into the Arrochar 
country ? This theory also lends colour to the 
probability of the death of Walter in James's crowning 
catastrophe, Sauchieburn, as suggested bj'' the Piebald 
Horse Legend. Afterwards Walter's son, Andrew, in 
the changed conditions brought about by the death of 
James III., would make peace with Darnley in the 
manner suggested. The idea that a cadet assumed 
the chieftaincy appears to have arisen from a later 
Latin charter in which Sir John MacFarlane was styled 
" capitaneus de Clan Pharlane." This, Skene, in his 
" Highlanders of Scotland," took to mean " Captain of 
Clan Farlane," but Dr. M'Bain, editor of the latest 
edition of the work, points out that Capitaneus is 
reaUv Latin for Chief, 

Walter — Ninth Chief 47 

Legend of " The Piebald Horse." 

The following is the legend of " The Piebald Horse," 
as set down by the Rev. James Dewar, Minister of 

"In the reign of James HI. of Scotland, the Laird 
of MacFarlane was slain at the battle of Sauchie-Burn, 
near Stirling, in the year 1488, leaving a widow, who 
was an Englishwoman, the mother of one son • he also 
left a son by his first wife, who was the heir ; but this 
son and heir had the misfortune to be proud, vain, 
silly, and a little weak-minded. His half-brother was 
possessed of a beautiful piebald horse, which had been 
given to him by some of his mother's relations. The 
elder brother was about to set out for Stirhng and was 
very desirous of riding this horse, wishing, as the young 
chief, to make a very grand appearance. 

"The step-mother refused the loan of the animal, 
alleging, as her reason for so doing, her fear that it 
would not be safely brought back. Her denial only 
made the young man the more persistent. Finally, 
a written agreement was drawn up, and signed by the 
heir, in which he promised to forfeit to his half-brother 
his lands of Arrochar, in case the horse was not safely 

"The step- mother bribed the groom in attendance to 
poison the horse on the second day from home, and the 
estate accordingly went to the younger brother. 

The Clan refused to receive the latter as their chief, 
but combined to acknowledge the elder brother as 
such, though not possessed of the lands of Arrochar. 
Some years later, by special Act of Parliament, these 
lands were restored to the rightful heir. 

"A ruined gable end on TuUich Hill, above Arrochar, 
was said to have been the home of the dispossessed 

"Another account states that the stepmother caused 
the stuffing of the saddle to be saturated with poison, 
which being absorbed by the horse, proved fatal to it. 

48 History of Clan MacFarlane 

" In the Lennox, certain MacFarlanes for long were 
referred to as ' Sliochd-an-eich-bhain,' ' The followers 
of the piebald horse,' or ' The race of the pyat horse 
that never was wise,' in contradistinction to Clann-an- 
Oighre, ' The followers of the heir.' The names 
MacNuyer, MacNair and MacNeur are said to have 
had their origin in Clann an Oighre. Walter 
MacFarlane, 20th chief, the famous antiquary says, 
MacNair means 'illegitimate,' but we construe this 
in the sense of 'pretender' to the chieftainship." 


Andrew — ^Tenth Chief. 
1488- 1493. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

John (Stewart of Darnley). James IV., 1488-1513. 

gth Earl, 1488-1494. 

AS stated in the last chapter, Andrew married a 
daughter of John Stewart of Darnley, after- 
wards 9th Earl of Lennox, and it may be noted 
here that following this event the MacFarlanes were as 
loyal to their new overlords as they had been faithful 
to their blood relations, the ancient earls. 

Andrew appears as a witness in a charter to the 
burgh of Dumbarton in 1493. 

Sir John — Eleventh Chief 49 


Sir John — Eleventh Chief, 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Matthew, loth Earl, 1494-1513. James IV., 1488-1513, 

SIR JOHN MACFARLANE was the son of Andrew, 
and therefore nephew of his contemporary, 
Matthew, loth Earl of Lennox. 

The honour of knighthood was bestowed upon him 
by James IV. 

In a charter which he granted to one William 
MacFarlane of the lands of Garrowstuck, Sir John is 
designated : — 

" Honorabilis, Sir Johannes Macfarlane dominus 
ej usd miles capitaneus de Clan Pharlane, filius Andreae, 
etc," which is : — 

" The honourable Sir John MacFarlane, lord of the 
same, soldier, captain of Clan Pharlane, son of Andrew, 

This charter is the occasion of the misconception, 
already dealt with, in respect to Sir John being merely 
" Captain of the Clan," and not Chief. Matthew, the 
earl, and Sir John married sisters, daughters of James, 
Lord Hamilton, and nieces of James III. By his wife, 
whose name is not given. Sir John had two sons, 
Andrew, his heir, and Robert, who founded the branch 
of " Inversnait." Sir John married a second time, a 
daughter of Herbert, Lord Herries, by whom he had a 
son, Walter of Ardleish. Walter was the progenitor 
of the MacFarlanes of Gartartan and Ballaggan. 
Thirdly, Sir John married Lady Helen Stewart, 

50 History of Clan MacFarlane 

daughter of John, third Earl of Athole, by whom he 
had a son, John, and a daughter, Grizel. 

" Sir John," says the chronicler, " was a man of 
spirit and resolution, and accompanied King James IV. 
to the fatal field of Flodden, 15 14, where he lost his 
life fighting gallantly for king and country." 

John evidently had a fifth son, named Duncan, 
In 1545, at Irvine, there was a bond of Manrent 
(feudal service), entered into by " Duncan, uncle to the 
laird of MacFarlane " to Hugh MacMaster of EgHnton, 
At this date Duncan, the son of Andrew, Sir John's 
grandson, was laird of Arrochar. The first mentioned 
Duncan was, therefore, a brother of Andrew, the 
I2th Chief, and a younger son of Sir John. This is 
confirmed in a Colquhoun complaint of 21st December, 
1544, against Duncan MacFarlane of Arrochar, Andrew 
MacFarlane, Robert MacFarlane and Duncan Mac- 
Farlane, his fader, brether, i.e., his father and father's 

Andrew — ^Twelfth Chief 51 


Andrew — Twelfth Chief. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

John, nth Earl, 1513-1526. James V., 1513-1542. 

Matthew^ 12th Earl, 1526-1571. Mary, 1542-1567. 

ANDREW, known as " Andrew the Wizard," 
succeeded his father. Sir John. He gained his 
soubriquet on account of certain tricks of 
legerdemain, acquired in his travels abroad with one of 
the MacDonnells of Keppoch. In the records of the 
Keppoch family there is an autograph letter of a Miss 
Josephine MacDonnell, written from London, in which 
" one of the MacFarlanes of Luss " is frequently 
mentioned as being the friend and college companion 
of one of the Chiefs of Keppoch, known as Alastair-nan- 
cleas. They were educated together at Rome, and 
learned many sleight of hand tricks, with which they 
astonished and frightened the country people, who 
ascribed these things to witchcraft. One of Keppoch's 
daughters married a MacFarlane of Luss, who Uved 
at the time of the above Alastair-nan-cleas, 

Andrew frequented the Court of James V. at Holy- 
rood, and married Lady Margaret Cunningham, who 
was a daughter, either of William, Earl of Glencairn, 
Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, or Cuthbert, third 
Earl of Glencairn — the authorities differ. They had 
two sons, Duncan, his successor, and George of Merkinch. 
From George are descended the MacFarlans of Kirkton 
in the parish of Campsie, StirHngshire, now known as 

52 History of Clan MacFarlane 

the Ballancleroch branch. George settled in the north, 
where his posterity continued to reside, until they 
bought the lands of Kirkton, when they returned to 
be near their kinsmen. 

In the biography of Sir Walter Scott is mentioned a 
John MacFarlane of this family, who was a friend and 
companion of the great Shenachie of the Highlands. 

" Andrew, the Wizard," died in the beginning of the 
reign of Queen Mary, about 1544, and was an active 
supporter of the Regent Lennox during the Queen's 

The Privy Seal Register of January 30th, 1527, 
contains the echo of a Buchanan raid upon the Mac- 
Farlanes. This is a " Respitt " to Patrick Buchanan 
and twelve others, mostly of the same name, for 
" their treasonable art, part, and assistance, given by 
them to George and Robert Buchanan and others, 
their accomplices, for the treasonable raising of fire in 
the lands of Arrochar, pertaining to MacFarlane ; and 
for the cruel slaughter of John Laurenceson and certain 
others, being with him in his company, and for the reiff , 
spoiling, and harrying of the said town of Fowghe, that 
same time ; for XIX. years." 

As we have indicated, the MacFarlane chiefs became 
zealous supporters of the Lennox Earls. It was 
probably in this character that, shortly after Flodden, 
the Clan attacked the castle of Boturick, on the south 
shore of Loch Lomond, which was part of the ancient 
property of the earldom that had fallen to the share of 
Haldane of Gleneagles. The incident is narrated in Sir 
David Lindsay's well known poem, " Squyer Mel drum." 
The laird of Gleneagles had fallen at Flodden, and the 
Squyer was making love to his widow in Strathearn, 
when news came that her castle of Boturick was being 
attacked by the MacFarlanes. Forthwith the valiant 
Squyer brought his forces together and rode to the 
rescue, driving off the attackers, and securing the fair 
lady's property. 

t b SB ' ' R- t:me. t t 


52 History of Clan MacFarlane 

the Ballancleroch branch. George settled in the north, 
where his posterity continued to reside, until they 
bought the lands of Kirkton, when they returned to 
be near their kinsmen. 

In the biography of Sir Walter Scott is mentioned a 
John MacFarlane of this family, who was a friend and 
companion of the great Shenachie of the Highlands. 

" Andrew, the Wizard," died in the beginning of the 
reign of Queen Mary, about 1544, and was an active 
supporter of the Regent Lennox during the Queen's 

The Privy Seal Register of January 30th, 1527, 
contains the echo of a Buchanan raid upon the Mac- 
Farlanes. This is a " Respitt " to Patrick Buchanan 
and twelve others, mostly of the same name, for 
" their treasonable art, part, and assistance, given by 
them to George and Robert Buchanan and others, 
their accomplices, for the treasonable raising of fire in 
the lands of Arrochar, pertaining to MacFarlane ; and 
for the cruel slaughter of John Laurenceson and certain 
others, being with him in his company, and for the reiff , 
spoiling, and harrying of the said town of Fowghe, that 
same time ; for XIX. years." 

As we have indicated, the MacFarlane chiefs became 
zealous supporters of the Lennox Earls. It was 
probably in this character that, shortly after Flodden, 
the Clan attacked the castle of Boturick, on the south 
shore of Loch Lomond, which was part of the ancient 
property of the earldom that had fallen to the share of 
Haldane of Gleneagles. The incident is narrated in Sir 
David Lindsay's well known poem, " Squyer Meldrum." 
The laird of Gleneagles had fallen at Flodden, and the 
Squyer was making love to his widow in Strathearn, 
when news came that her castle of Boturick was being 
attacked by the MacFarlanes. Forthwith the vahant 
Squyer brought his forces together and rode to the 
rescue, driving off the attackers, and securing the fair 
lady's property. 


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Thogail nam bo then 

Andrew — Twelfth Chief 53 

Andrew, " the Wizard," is the reputed composer of 
the famous clan Pibroch, " Thogail nam Bo." 

In 15 1 8 .Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, his son, Walter, 
and his brother, Walter, were witnesses to a protest 
of a person named MacFarlane. 

A curious incident is related in Pitcairn's Criminal 
Trials, under date i6th August, 1536 : — " Walter 
MacFarlane (who may have been Walter of Ardleish, 
third son of Sir John, the nth chief, and brother to 
Andrew, the Wizard), found John Napier of Kilma- 
hew, and John Buntyn of Ardoch, as cautioners for 
his entry at the next Justice-aire of Dumbarton, to 
underly the law for art and part of convocation of the 
lieges in great numbers, in warlike manner, and 
besetting the way of Margaret Cunningham, widow 
(second wife) of the late Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, 
and David Farneley of Colmistoune, being for the time 
in her company, for their slaughter and for other 

How this matter ended is not known, as the records 
of the proceedings of Dumbarton Justice- aires at that 
period have not been preserved. We are, however, 
relieved to know that Lady Colquhoun was not amongst 
the slaughtered, for she lived to marry again. 

MacLeod, in his History of Dumbarton, tells u.s 
something of Andrew's powers in the capacity of 
Wizard : — 

" The chief of the Clan Farlane, when occasion called 
for it, could use his supposed satanic powers with 
effect. From his position by inheritance, marnage, 
and personal properties, he was often at court 
attending upon the king, and while riding homewards, 
after one of these visits to Linlithgow, he passed 
Muillionn Pharaig (Patrick Mill). It was a hot 
harvest day when he did so, and the miller and his men 
and maidens were busy reaping a field by the wayside 
convenient to, and east of, the mill. The chief 
courteously accosted the miller, and asked a drink for 

54 History of Clan MacFarlane 

himself and his horse, which the grinder of oats rudely 
refused. Parched with thirst, very weary, and in no 
amiable mood, the MacFarlane continued his j ourney 
westward, and no sooner had he passed the mill, on 
which he cast a spell, than its machinery got into 
motion, seemingly of its own accord. The sound of the 
grinding caught the miller's ear, and he ordered one of 
his female reapers to go and stop it. She obeyed so 
far, but no sooner had she crossed the threshold of the 
mill than she kilted up her petticoats and set to the 
dancing, shouting all the while, ' Sud e, suas e ! 
dh'iarr Macpharlain deoch 's cha d'fhuair se e ! ' ' Up 
with the dance ! MacFarlane sought a drink and did 
not get it ! ' A second, a third, and other reaper 
maidens were sent with like result, and the miller, who 
ultimately put in an appearance at the miU, beheld 
with consternation quite a host of kilted females, 
dancing as if they were mad, and shouting lustily, 
' Sud e, suas e! dh'iarr Macpharlain deoch 's 
cha d'fhuair se e ! ' The frightened miller sent a man 
in hot haste after MacFarlane to implore him to return, 
have his refreshments, and remove the spell he had cast 
upon the reapers, but he resolutely refused. However, 
he said to the messenger, ' Go, tell the inhospitable 
miller to search in the thatch above the mill door, and 
he will find there a rowan switch, which he is to throw 
into the mill lade, and that being done, the spell will be 
removed, and the women will give up their dancing and 
shouting, and return to their work.' 

"These instructions being obeyed to the letter, the 
women folk were speedily disenchanted, and slowly 
retm-ned to their labours in the field. Such is the 
story — partly historical, partly legendary — which has 
been handed down to our day ; and many others of 
a Hke nature, relating to the wizard chief, might be 
added thereto, but space forbids." 

Duncan — ^Thirteenth Chief 55 


Duncan — Thirteenth Chief. 
1544- 1547. 

Earls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Matthew. 12th Earl, 1526-1571. Mary, 1542-1567. 

DUNCAN, son of Andrew " the Wizard," was a 
gallant warrior, and took his full share in the 
martial events of his times. By reason of his 
near kinship both to Lennox and Glencairn, he 
frequently assisted them, even to the endangering of 
his life and fortune. 

When Lennox, the father of Henry Darnley, the 
husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, took up arms in 1544 
to oppose the Regent Arran and the catholic party, 
Duncan, with three hundred men of his surname, 
joined his forces, and was present at, for them, the 
disastrous fight of the Butts of Glasgow Muir. Duncan 
suffered forfeiture, but, by the intercession of his friends, 
was afterwards restored, and obtained a remission 
under the Privy Seal. It is stated that a missive was 
addressed to Lord Ogilvie, Warden of the West, 
authorising him to allow Duncan MacFarlane of that 
Ilk to be put in " fre-ward," as he thought expedient, 
provided the said Duncan found caution to the amount 
of £1,000 Scots. The Books of Adjournal bear that the 
caution was forthcoming two days afterwards ; the 
cautioners being Sir John Campbell of Lundy, Sir John 
CampbeU of Calder, John Campbell of Glen Farquhar, 
Colin Campbell of Ardkynglass, James Campbell of 
Lawaries, Archibald Campbell of Glen Lyon, and Arthur 
Campbell of Ardgarthnay. 

56 History of Clan MacFarlane 

The loss of the battle of Glasgow Muir compelled 
Lennox to withdraw into England, where, having 
married Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of the widow 
of James V. and the Earl of Angus, and so niece of 
Henry VIIL, the Earl secured an English force to 
assist him, and marched north to resume his 

Although not daring to appear in person after his 
recent forfeiture and acquittal, Dimcan was, neverthe- 
less, wholeheartedly in the Earl's cause, and sent to his 
aid a hundred and forty well armed men under the 
command of his uncle, Walter MacFarlane, variously 
styled as of Tarbet and Ardleish. This detachment of 
the Clan proved themselves very serviceable in that 
expedition in the capacity of light troops to the main 
army. They took part in the taking of the islands of 
Bute and Arran, the burning of the castles of Rothesay 
and Dunoon, and in the defeat of the Earl of Argyle. 

Writing of these exploits, Ralph Hollinshed in his 
History of Scotland, says : — " The Earl had with him 
Walter MacFarlane of Tarbet and seven score men of 
the head of Lennox that spoke both ' Irishe ' (Gaelic) 
and the English- Scottish tongues ; light footmen, 
well armed in shirts of mail and two-handed swords, 
which, being joined with the English archers and 
' shotte,' did much available service in the ' streyghts, 
marishes, and mountayne countries.' " 

In an attempt in August to capture the Castle of 
Dumbarton, however, Lennox and Glencairn were 
again defeated. 

A warrant of .similar indulgence to that of his chief, 
was however granted to Walter MacFarlane, but on 
condition of his finding sureties to an amount, this 
time, of £3,000 Scots. Fortunately cautioners were 
forthcoming as in the former case, in Andrew, Lord 
Evandale, Henry, Lord Methven, and Sir John 
Hamilton of Finnart. 

Undeterred by these defeats and the consequent 

Duncan — Thirteenth Chief 57 

penalties, four months later, in December of 1544, we 
find Duncan again on the warpath, despoiling his 
immediate Roman Catholic enemies in Dumbarton- 
shire. The far-reaching extent of this invasion, and 
the alarm it caused to the authorities, is plainly revealed 
in a complaint and representation made to the 
Government by the Laird of Luss, contained in letters 
issued under the signet of Queen Mary, and dated 
2ist December, 1544. 

" That Duncan MacFarlane of Arrochar, Andrew 
MacFarlane, Robert MacFarlane, and Duncan Mac- 
Farlane, his fader, brether (father and father's brothers). 
Ewer Campbell of Strachur, James Stewart, son to 
Walter Stev/art in Balquidder, and certain others, 
great thieves, limmers, robbers, common sorners upon 
our lieges, throatcutters, murderers, slayers of men, 
women, and children (the usual general indictment), 
and their accomplices, to the number of six hundred 
men, and more, came to the said John's lands and place 
of Rossdhu, and lands and barony of Luss, and there 
cruelly slew and murdered nine of his poor tenants in 
their beds, and harried his whole country, both himself 
and his poor men, as well as all in sight, goods within 
house, as of black cattle, sheep, and other beasts, late 
in the month of December, and daily pursued in plain 
reiff and sorning upon the poor lieges of our realm, and 
are gathered to them many thieves and limmers 
intending to harry the whole country to Glasgow and 
Stirling, if they be not resisted, in high contempt of 
our authority and law." 

These letters, under the signet, were addressed to the 
Sheriffs of Argyll, Dumbarton, Renfrew and Stirling, 
commanding them to summon aU the lieges in these 
shires to muster and unite with John Colquhoun of 
Luss, and others who might assist him in resisting, 
apprehending, and bringing to punishment, the per- 
petrators of these outrages. After narrating the facts 
already stated, the letters proceed : — " Our will is 

58 History of Clan MacFarlane 

therefore, and we charge you straitly and command 
that, incontinently, these our letters pass to the market 
crosses of our burghs of the said shires, and other 
places needful, and that there be open proclamation, 
command, and charge, to all and sundry of our lieges 
within the bounds of our said sheriffdoms, to rise and 
come together, for resisting of the said thieves and 
robbers, to such parties as they shall happen to come 
upon, and that they take active part with the said 
John, or any other gentleman that rises for resisting of 
the said thieves and hmmers, and take and apprehend 
them, and bring them to our justice to be punished for 
their demerits in conformity with our law." Her 
Majesty's letters further provided that, should any of 
the said thieves be slain in the attempt to apprehend 
them, no crime would attach to the parties killing them, 
and that all persons, who should fail to obey the pro- 
clamation, would be held as taking part with the said 
thieves and robbers, and would be punished accordingly. 

All this ado, although whole counties were sum- 
moned to resist the MacFarlanes, apparently resulted 
in nothing. As a matter of fact, the power of the 
Crown was at that time very feeble. By the com- 
bination of feudal lairds and their vassals, the 
administration of justice was greatly obstructed, and 
often rendered impossible. 

Duncan was a staunch supporter of the Reformation. 
Indeed, the ancient chronicler, Buchanan of Auchmar, 
tells that Duncan Macfarlane of Arrochar was the 
" first man of any importance in Scotland to make an 
open profession of the Christian religion " — meaning, 
of course, the reformed faith. 

Although Chief of the Clan for a matter of only three 
years, his period was one of constant warlike activity. 
In 1547, about five months before his gallant death, 
Duncan and fifty-eight of his people were summoned 
to the justiciary court at Dumbarton, to answer a 
charge of attacking Sir Patrick Maxwell in his house at 

Duncan — Thirteenth Chief 59 

Newark, and of carrjdng away 280 cattle, 80 sheep, 
24 goats, 20 horses, 80 stones of cheese, 40 bolls of 
barley, and some articles of household furniture. 

There is no record to show that the Chief ever 
appeared to answer the charge, but his son and heir, 
Andrew MacFarlane, woiild seem to have made 
restitution by marrying Sir Patrick Maxwell's daughter ; 
and thus, comments the Rev. H. S. Winchester, the 
whole affair resolved itself into a rather rough and 
ready taking of the marriage portion beforehand. 

As was seen in the last chapter, Walter of Ardleish 
had his own grievances against the Colquhouns, for 
in the previous year, in the month of February, Robert 
Dennistoun of Colgrain, Walter MacFarlane of Ardleish, 
Andrew MacFarlane his son and apparent heir, and 
others, their accomplices, carried away from the 
Nether and Middle Mains of Luss, sixteen cows which 
belonged to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, the price of 
each being seven merks. Clearly Colquhoun did not 
recover his " kye," for on 13th February, 1550, or 
seven years later, and three years after Walter's death, 
the aggrieved party obtained letters of diligence under 
the signet of Queen Mary in a process of spulzie, 
against the depredators, requiring them to appear 
before the Lords of Council at Edinburgh, on the i6th 
of March following, to answer for the wrongous, 
violent, and masterful spoliation by themselves, their 
servants and accomphces in their names, and the 
away-taking from the Nether and Middle Mains of 
Luss, " sixteen tydie kye," the property of Sir John, 
which they refused to restore, or to give him the value 
in money." 

Duncan met a soldier's death. He, Walter of 
Ardleish, and a great number of the Clan, gave their 
lives for Scotland on the Black Saturday of Pinkie, 
loth September, 1547. ^^ this, their final stage, these 
two turbulent spirits fought for Queen Mary. 

Duncan was twice married, and both marriages took 

6o History of Clan MacFarlane 

place during his father's Hfetime. His first wife, 
Isabel Stewart, daughter of Andrew, Lord Ochiltree, 
died childless. He afterwards married Catherine Anne 
Colquhoun, fourth daughter of Sir John Colquhoun of 
Luss (nth Chief) and Margaret Stewart, who was a 
daughter of Sir John Stewart, the first DarnleyEarl of 
Lennox. The bridegroom was thus a great-great- 
grandson and the bride a grand- daughter of the powerful 
Darnley. The marriage took place, not, as might be 
supposed, during the lifetime of her father, nor yet 
during the reign at Rossdhu of Humphrey, her eldest 
brother, but in the time of her nephew. Sir John 
Colquhoun, who was Chief of that Clan from 1538 to 
1574. On 17th July, 1543, Duncan MacFarlane and 
Catherine Colquhoun, his spouse, were invested in 
liferent in the lands of Arrochar, which heritably 
belonged to Andrew (Duncan's father) and which he 
had resigned into the hands of Matthew, Earl of Lennox, 
the superior, for new investment. The original 
instrument of Sasine is preserved at Rossdhu, and 
details the lands as follows: — "Jarbolze, Ardlewe, 
Jarrowstuk, Stukindryne, Ardmurlik, Portcapill, Inner- 
quhilling, Blairrannyth, and Stronfyne, extending 
annually to ten pounds of lands of old extent in the 
earldom of Lennox and shire of Dumbarton. The 
witnesses were Robert MacFarlane, Patrick Mac- 
Farlane, John MacFarlane Robertson, Donald Macneill, 
Thomas Macneill, Dowgall Mackcowll, John M'Kynne, 
Murdoch Makcalpene, and Sir James Lang, Chaplain, 
and others." 

Duncan and Catherine had two sons, Andrew and 
Duncan, As his father was killed in 1547, the elder 
could only have been some three years of age when he 
succeeded to the headship of the Clan, and twenty- 
four when he took part in the battle of Langside. 
Reference to the younger son, Duncan, will be found 
in the next chapter in regard to the Mill of Nab affair, 
in 1578. 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 6i 


Andrew — Fourteenth Chief. 
1547- 1612. 

F.ayls of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Matthew, 12th Earl, 1526-1571. Mary, 1542-1567. 

Henry Darnley (King Consort James VI., 1567-1625. 

of Scotland), 1545-1567. 

Robert, 14th Earl, 1571 . 

Charles, i5tli Earl, 1579. 

Dukes of Lennox, 
EsME, ist Duke, 1581-1583. 
LuDovic, 2nd Duke, 1583-1624. 

ANDREW became chief as we have shown in 1547, 
at the very early age of three years. The first 
record we have of his activities is in 1560, when 
he was 16. On 20th July of that year he was witness 
to a procuratory, dated 20th July, 1560, by Sir 
Humphrey Colquhoun, rector or prebendary of Kil- 
patrick-Juxta, in the diocese of Glasgow, for resigning 
in his name all the rights and fruits of the said rectory 
into the hands of the most reverend father in Christ, 
Lord James, Archbishop of Glasgow, or his vicar- 
general, having power to that effect, as into the hands 
of the true and undoubted patron, in favour of Sir 
James Lang, chaplain of the diocese of Glasgow, 

In a writ dated 156 — , he became a cautioner for Sir 
John Colquhoun of Luss, for such sums of money as the 
Lords of Session should modify to be paid to his 
Majesty and to Humphrey Cunningham, in case the 
said John should not be able to disprove a pretended 
obligation produced, or to be produced, by the said 

62 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Humphrey against the said John, alleged to be made 
by his " grandschir." 

Next Andrew appears as a magistrate. 

On i8th March, 1564, ten individuals, Houston by 
name, mostly Dumbarton men, were tried in Edin- 
burgh, and, (with one exception), found guilty of 
" unlawfully convening the Heges," and also of 
intending to slaughter Andrew Hamilton of Cochno. 
" It is not improbable," says Irving, " that the attack 
was made under colour of law, as Hamilton was an 
adherent of Queen Mary, and with his son, John, was 
amongst those outlawed after the battle of Langside." 
The " Assize " on the Houstons included Andrew 
MacFarlane of Arrochar, with other Lennox notables, 
John Colquhoun of Luss, Robert Colquhoun of Cam- 
stradden, William Smollett, burgess of Dumbarton, 
and Walter Buchanan of DrumakiU. 

The chief was now twenty years of age. 

Before or about this date Andrew married. His 
wife was Agnes, daughter of Sir Patrick Maxwell of 
Newark, by whom he had three sons and one daughter, 
John, who succeeded him, George, who received for 
his patrimony the Mains of Kilmaronock (the castle 
stiU stands), but left no succession, Humphrey of 
Brackearn, and Elizabeth, who married Malcolm 
MacFarlane of Gartartan. 

Apparently Andrew had another daughter, as 
" Duncan of Lochaber " seventeenth (according to 
Douglas) chief of McGregor, married for his second 
wife a daughter of MacFarlane of that Ilk. The 
second son of that lady, Robert, was old enough to be 
in command of a division at the battle of Glen Fruin in 
1603, so his mother must have been born forty years 
before, which would make her birth year 1563 or earlier. 
Her father would then be eighteen to twenty, and this 
rather suggests that she was Andrew's eldest child. 
This Robert McGregor was a worthy son of his warlike 
grandfather. He is stated to have been a man of rare 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 63 

martial genius. He laid the plan of attacking the 
Colquhouns at the famous battle of Glen Fruin, and 
was given command of a division. To his gallant 
conduct the success of the day is chiefly attributed, 
and his sword was long honourably preserved. 

Battle of Langside. 

As bold, active, and adventurous as his sire, write 
the historians, Andrew engaged in the civil wars of the 
period. A zealous promoter of the Reformation, he 
was one of the first in the Highlands, of any note, to 
make open profession of the Protestant rehgion, and 
he " went into all the measures of the Earl of Moray 
against Queen Mary." 

The majority of historians are agreed that it was 
owing chiefly to the assistance given by the Mac- 
Farlanes that Moray succeeded in defeating the Queen's 
forces at the battle of Langside, 13th May, 1568. If 
no great personal advantage accrued therefrom, 
Andrew, at least, wrote his name indelibly upon the 
pages of history. 

According to a contemporary writer, the battle 
commenced at nine o'clock in the morning. The 
Queen's vanguard charged along the Bus-an-'aik 
(bush and oak) Road to that part of the field where 
Queen's Park Public School is now situated, and up the 
existing Lang Loan to the village. There they 
encountered the Regent's spearmen, while his Hag- 
butters poured a steady fire on the advancing enemy. 
The fight which ensued was characteristic of the 
period. The Regent's left wing was brought up, 
and by a flank movement charged the Queen's van- 
guard, striking the men in their " flankes and faces," 
and forcing them to turn back after long fighting 
and pushing and swaying to and fro, as they were 
locked together in the deadly struggle. " God and 
the Queen" resounded from one party ; " God and 
the King" thundered from the other. The fresh 

64 History of Clan MacFarlane 

attack confused the column of the assailants, and 
the dark, dense, and united line of helmets was 
broken, and hurled in disorder back upon Clincart 
Hill. In vain did the leaders call upon their followers. 
They were slain, felled to the earth, and hurried 
backwards by the mingled tide of flight and pursuit. 
A wild debacle ensued as the now demorahsed Queen's 
troops were swept down the slopes. From first to 
last the battle only lasted three-quarters of an hour. 
Yet in that brief time three hundred men were 
slaughtered ! 

Hollinshed's account of the affair reads : — 
" In this battle the valiance of a Highland gentle- 
man named MacFarlane stood the Regent's part in 
great stead, for in the hottest brunt of the fight he 
came in with three hundred of his friends and 
countrymen, and so manfully gave in upon the Queen's 
people that he was a great cause of disordering them. 
This MacFarlane had been lately before condemned to 
die for some outrage by him committed, and obtaining 
pardon through the suite of the Countess of Moray, 
he recompensed that clemency by this piece of service 
now at this battle." 

Nisbet's account enlarges Hollinshed's: — 
" In defence of which (his rehgion) he (Andrew) 
made several signal appearances, particularly at the 
famous battle of Langside, fought on May loth, 1568, 
at which battle the Earl of Murray, who was then 
Regent, being almost overpowered by the number of 
Queen Mary's forces, and his army ready to give way, 
the Laird of MacFarlane came in very seasonably to his 
assistance with a considerable supply of three hundred 
men, with whom he attacked the right wing of the 
Queen's army so furiously that they were immediately 
obliged to quit their ground, and betake themselves to 
their heels, and were soon followed by the rest of the 

army He took at the battle three of Queen 

Mary's standards which were for a long time preserved 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 65 

in the family. (Also said to have been in Glasgow 
Cathedral. — Ed.). Neither was the Regent insensible 
of the service the Laird of MacFarlane did him at the 
battle ; for, amongst other rewards, he gave him that 
honourable crest and motto, which is still enj oyed by 
his posterity and recorded in the Lyon Register, viz., 
a demi- savage, proper, holding in his dexter hand a 
sheaf of arrows, and pointing with his sinister to an 
imperial crown, or ■ motto : ' This I'll Defend ' ; and 
ever since that time the family have been in use to 
carry for supporters as above ; as is to be seen on the 
castle of Island Vow, built in the year 1577, by the 
said Andrew." 

The battle is thus described by Sir Walter Scott : — 

" They met with equal courage, and encountered 
with levelled lances, striving like contending bulls, 
which should bear the other down. The spears of the 
front ranks were so fastened into each other's armour 
that the staves crossed like a sort of grating on which 
lay daggers, pistols and other weapons, used as 
missiles, which the contending parties had thrown at 
each other. 

" While they were thus locked in an embrace of 
steel with the Queen's archers pouring a deadly fire 
into the Regent's men, Andrew MacFarlane threw 
himself into the fray (with, according to Petrie's Church 
History, five hundred of his own name and dependents) 
flanking, gaUing and finally putting the archers to 

Browne and M'lan state that " The MacFarlanes 
were acknowledged by all to be the chief instrument of 
obtaining that glorious victory " ■ and also that the 
Clan captured three of Queen Mary's standards, 
" which were long preserved in the family." 

Robert MacFarlane of Brooklyn, New York, writing 
in the Scottish American Journal, under date, February 
9th, 1878, states that, " A street in old Rutherglen 
called the Lennox Road is the path which the 

66 History of Clan MacFarlane 

MacFarlanes took to cut off the fugitives of Queen 
Mary's army." As we have said, most of the historians 
are agreed that the MacFarlanes performed a signal 
service on this occasion, but that we may not be 
accused of partiality, we give the following quotation 
from a volume edited by Mr. Ludovic Mann, issued in 
Glasgow, in 1918 : — 

" A chief of the MacFarlanes, who, scarcely twenty 
days before the battle, had been condemned to die, 
had been pardoned by the Countess of Moray. As 
already indicated, he gathered about 200 of his 
countrymen, and joined the Regent's army, being 
attached, apparently, to the east battalion of the 
Regent's right wing. But during the prolonged 
tug-of-war there the MacFarlanes wavered. Lord 
Lindsay, who stood nearest to them, exclaimed that he 
could fill their places better, and they might go. 
The freebooting Highlanders, however, rallied when 
they saw that the Regent's side was winning, returned 
to the field, pursued the Queen's men, and executed 
much slaughter." 

Why Mr. Mann selected this passage and ignored all 
the records to the credit of the Clan is between him 
and his sense of right. 

It has been regarded as remarkable that the 
MacFarlanes should have been found ranged under the 
banner of the Earl of Moray, when almost all the 
Highland chiefs espoused the cause of the unfortunate 
Mary, but as we have seen, Andrew was a zealous 
Protestant. In those times this would have been a 
sufficient cause, but he was also bound by ties of 
loyalty to Lennox, whose heir, Henry Darnley, the 
king consort, had been foully murdered, as many 
believed, by Mary's connivance, or at least her passive 
acquiescence. Even as regards his natural allegiance 
to the House of Stewart, had the matter rested on that 
alone, the chief might well have been in a difficulty. 
His choice lay between the son (albeit illegitimate), 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 67 

James Stewart, Earl of Moray (and with him the heir 
to the throne, the future James VI.), and the daughter 
(already deposed) of James V. A condition of civil 
war prevailed, and, in such circumstances, a man had 
to follow his conscience. 

We have seen that in 1577, Andrew built the castle on 
Eilean-a-vow, the ruins of which still stand, and it was 
doubtless in connection with this event, and in acknow- 
ledgment of the services the chief had rendered him, 
that James VI. paid his recorded visit to the 
MacFarlane country. 

This island was the home of a brood of wild geese, 
which were supposed to have some mysterious con- 
nection with the family, and which, it is said, were 
never seen again after the ruin of the house. 

On the occasion of his visit to the island castle, J ames, 
previous to his repast, had been much amused by the 
gambols of the geese on Loch Lomond. But when one 
which was brought to the table was found to be tough 
and ill-fed, James jocularly observed : " that Mac- 
Farlane's geese Hked their play better than their meat "; 
a proverb which was long current. 

In 1578, from the Privy Council Register it would 
appear that the Clan was guilty of considerable 
bloodshed, as witness the following, dated Stirling 
Castle, 26th December, 1578, complaint by Patrick, 
Lord Drummond, against the Earl of Montrose : — 

" Upon the 21st day of December, John, Earl of 
Montrose, with his servants and accomplices, to the 
number of forty persons or thereby, in warlike manner, 
came, under silence of night, to the dwelling house of 
Wm. Drummond at the Mill of Nab, and surrounded 
the same for the apprehension of Duncan MacFarlane, 
brother-german to Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, 
and Duncan MacCouU MacFarlane in Drummond of 
Lennox, the said Patrick, Lord Drummond's servants 

68 History of Clan MacFarlane 

being Ijdng in their beds within the said house ; for 
putting of his devised purpose into execution, entered 
within the said house, and put violent hands upon the 
persons aforesaid, took them out of their beds, and 
perforce has transported them to his place of 
Kincardine ; where he as yet detains them as captives 
and prisoners." 

Both parties now appearing personally, and the 
Earl of Montrose having alleged and produced in his 
justification a commission, dated 2nd December, given 
him by the King, " for taking of the said Duncan 
M'Coull MacFarlane and others, his accomplices, 

committers of the cruel murder of the late Ra, 

like as he by vertew thereof took and apprehended him 
and the said umquhile Duncan MacFarlane, the Lords 
do two things. They ordain that the Earl of Montrose 
shall, under pain of horning, ' exhibit the aforesaid 
persons before them upon the 29th December,' then 
to hear the cause decided ; but, at the same time, they 
acquit him from all pain and danger for what he has 
already done in the matter." 

The continuation of the narrative is found under 
date, Stirling Castle, 29th December, 1578 : — 

" The Earl of Montrose, now appearing and present- 
ing his two prisoners, according to the order recorded 
above, argued that one of them, Duncan MacCoull 
MacFarlane, having been ' taken by virtue of our 
Sovereign Lord's commission, for art and part of the 

cruel murder of the late Ra,' ought not to be 

set at liberty till he is tried. Lord Drummond, as 
patron of the prisoners, contended, on the other hand, 
that the said Duncan MacCoull MacFarlane ought to be 
released on surety for his appearance to be tried. 
The case having been considered, the Lords ' ordained 
Colin, Earl of Argyll, justice principal, to whom the 
said Duncan MacCoull MacFarlane was delivered, to 
retain and cause him to be kept in sure firmance that 
he escape not,' and direct the said Duncan to be ' put 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 69 

to the knowledge of an assize within the tolbooth of 
Stirling upon the 13th day of January next to come.' " 

There is some confusion between the two Duncans. 
From the reference to the " umquhile Duncan 
MacFarlane," it would appear that the brother-german 
to Andrew of Arrochar had died, and that the two 
prisoners produced by the Earl of Montrose were the 
men referred to in the following entry : — 

" Caution by Wm. Drummond of Myllynab in 500 
merks, for Duncan MacFarlane and in 100 pounds for 
Malcolm MacGillevoray, his servant, that they will 
appear to be tried for art and part in the slaughter of 
Ra, and will keep the peace meanwhile." 

In 1585, under date Holyrood House, 20th January, 
the following order appears : — 

" The King and his Council being informed that 
his good and peaceable subjects inhabiting the countries 
of the Lennox, Menteith, Stirlingshire and Strathearn 
are heavily oppressed by reif , stouth, sorning and other 
crimes, daily and nightly committed upon them by 
certain thieves, limmers and sorners, lately broken 
loose upon them from the braes of the country next 
adjacent, charge is given to a number of lairds, some 
twenty- eight in number, to attend the council on the 
28th January, under pain of rebellion, to give informa- 
tion as to the repressing of these outrages." 

" Andro McFarlan of the Arroquhair" is named 
second on the Hst, but apparently it was inconvenient 
for him to attend, for under date, Stirling Castle, 30th 
January, it is ordained that : — 

" As Andrew MacFarlane of the Arrochar, James 
McCondoquhy MacFarlane in Illinvow, Malcolm Beg 
MacFarlane in Letter in Stragartnay, have not obeyed 
the summons to appear under pain of horning, it is 
now ordered that the penalty take effect." 

In the Parliament acts of this year four MacFarlane 
lairds are named, those of Clackon, Dumf ord, Kirktown 
and Orquhart. 

70 History of Clan MacFarlane 

In the Parliament held July, 1587, no fewer than 
nineteen acts were passed " for the quieting and keeping 
in obedience of the disordered subjects, inhabitants 
of the Borders, Highlands and Isles." In one of these 
acts they are described as, " delighting in all mischiefs 
and most unnaturally and cruelly wasting, slaying, 
harrying and destroying their own neighbours, and 
native country people, taking occasion of the least 
trouble that may arise in the inner parts of the Realm, 
when they think that care and thought of the 
repressing of their insolence is in any way relaxed, 
to renew their most barbarous cruelties and godless 

In a roll of the names of the landlords and bailies of 
lands, dwelling on the Borders and in the Highlands, 
" where broken men have dwelt and presently dwell," 
to which one of these acts refers, are the names of the 
Lairds of Buchanan, MacFarlane of the Arrochar, 
Luss, MacAulay of Ardincaple, and in a " Roll of the 
Clans that have Captains, chiefs and chieftains on 
whom they depend, oftimes against the wills of their 
landlords, as well on the Borders as in the Highlands, 
and of some special persons or branches of the said 
Clans, ordained to be ratified in that Parhament, are 
the Buchanans, the MacFarlanes of the Arrochar, 
and the Clan Gregor." 

The Colquhoun Feud. 
We now come to the fierce feud which existed for a 
number of years with the Colquhouns. The raids by 
the MacFarlanes on the lands of Luss in the time of 
Duncan, the 13th Chief, already noted, were an 
outcome of the civil wars of the period. Colquhoun 
and MacFarlane were on opposite sides, Colquhoun 
being a Roman Catholic, and MacFarlane of the 
Reformed Faith. Duncan was of the faction of 
Lennox and Glencairn, while Colquhoun favoured that 
of Cardinal Beaton and the Regent Arran. Before 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 71 

the battle of Langside, however, both had embraced 
the same cause, that of the Regent Moray and the 
young king, afterwards James VI. 

The strife in Andrew's time was, therefore, an 
entirely different matter. It was essentially a clan 
quarrel, an out-and-out "deadly feud" of the 
traditional type. The narrative of events is found in 
government and private documents, and we shall allow 
these to speak for themselves, with only occasional 
comment where the bias of such writers as Sir William 
Fraser appears to call for protest. 

It is evident that the chief reason for the strife was 
" the slaughter of one of the Clan of MacFarlane, 
Humphrey MacFarlane, . . . committed by Sir 
Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss," but we have also in 
the traditional MacFarlane account of the Bannachra 
raid, of 1592, another cause, equally potent of offence, 
namely, the secret intrigue between Sir Humphrey 
and the wife of John MacFarlane o' that Ilk. As the 
raids, however, appear to have begun in 1590, the 
second offence may have been of the nature of " fuel 
to the fire." 

In the Colquhoun claims for restitution in regard to 
the vast amount of property taken from them, by their 
neighbours, it is not easy to decide which property is 
claimed to have been taken in any particular year, 
the charges harking back continually to old grievances, 
but it is evident that fairly friendly relations subsisted 
between the two clans immediately prior to the 
outbreak, for an agreement appears to have been 
reached in August, 1590. This seems to refer to the 
depredations by Duncan, the 13th Chief, and Walter of 

Sir Wm. Fraser's account of this agreement is as 
follows : — 

" The outstanding family quarrel between the 
Colquhouns and the MacFarlanes, which in the time 
of Sir John Colquhoun had been so fatal to many of 

72 History of Clan MacFarlane 

the dependents of the house of Colquhoun, was renewed 
in the closing years of the hfetime of Sir Humphrey, 
14th of Colquhoun and i6th of Luss. The Mac- 
Farlanes made many incursions into the glens of Luss, 
and carried off much property. In these frequent 
and destructive inroads they seem to have met with 
little opposition. 

In a decreet- arbitral, pronounced between Sir 
Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss for himself and his 
tenants on the one part, and Andrew MacFarlane of 
Arrochar for himself, his sons, kin, and friends on the 
other part, dated Edinburgh, loth August, 1590, it 
was discerned that there should be paid to Sir 
Humphrey and his tenants, by Andrew MacFarlane of 
Arrochar, 40 oxen, price of the piece £12 ; 60 kye, 
price of the piece ;^8 ; and 10 horse, price of the piece 
£13 6s. 8d. 

These details are set out in an assignation (given 
later) to Alexander Colquhoun of Luss by his tenants, 
dated 6th January, 1602. 

It is doubtful if Andrew carried out the terms of this 
decree, for the MacFarlane raids began in that year and 
continued through the next. Then in 1592 came the 
big affair which culminated with the burning of 
Bannachra castle, and the death of Sir Humphrey 
Colquhoun. Fraser's account of this, as is to be 
expected, differs materially from the traditional record 
handed down in the Clan MacFarlane. That historian's 
narrative is as follows : — 

" In July, 1592, a body of the MacFarlanes and 
MacGregors, descending from the mountains, com- 
mitted extensive depredations upon the fertile fields of 
Luss, which were now ripening for the harvest. To 
repel the aggressors. Sir Humphrey collected together 
a number of his vassals, and was joined by several 
neighbouring landed proprietors. The hostile parties 
met, and a sanguinary conflict, which lasted till 
nightfall, ensued. Sir Humphrey's assailants were 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 73 

more than a match for him, and he was forced to retreat. 
He betook himself to the castle of Bannachra, a 
stronghold, which had been erected by the Colquhouns 
at the foot of the north side of the hill of Bennibuie, at 
the south end of the parish of Luss. But here the 
knight did not find the shelter he expected. A party 
of the MacFarlanes and MacGregors pursued him, and 
laid siege to his castle. One of the servants, who 
attended the knight, was of the same surname as 
himself. He had been tampered with by the assailants 
of his master, and he treacherously made him their 
victim. The servant, while conducting his master to 
his room, up a winding stair of the castle, made him, 
by preconcert, a mark for the arrows of the Clan who 
pursued him, by throwing the glare of a paper torch 
upon his person, when opposite a loophole. This 
afforded a ready aim to . the besiegers, whose best 
bowmen watched for the opportunity. A winged 
arrow darted from its string with a steady aim, pierced 
the unhappy knight to the heart, and he fell dead on 
the spot. The fatal loophole is still pointed out, but 
the stair, like its unfortunate lord, has crumbled into 

" Not content with the murder of the Lord of 
Bannachra, his merciless assailants also murdered 
three of his servants, Robert Colquhoun of Tulhchin- 
taull, John Galloway, and Gavin MacLellan. And so 
little regard did these savage freebooters pay to the 
laws of chivalry that they brutally assaulted Jean 
Colquhoun, the fair and helpless daughter of Sir 

" Having wreaked their vengeance on the inmates 
of the castle of Bannachra, they next set fire to the 
castle itself." 

To the fatal battle of Bannachra Sir Walter Scott 
refers, in the Lady of the Lake, in the lines : — 

" Proudly our pibroch has thrilled in Glen Fruin. 
And Bannachra's groans to our slogan replied." 

74 History of Clan MacFarlane 

" The main facts of this tragic scene are proved by 
two entries in the Records of the Privy Council, 
several years after the events. On 31st December, 
1608, Parlane MacWalter of Auchenvenell became 
surety for Dougall MacCoull MacFarlane, sometime in 
Drumfad and now in Tullichintaull, that he should 
appear on the third day of the next Justice- aire of the 
sherriff dom of Dumbarton, to underHe the law for the 
alleged crimes following ; namely, for the alleged 
coming to the place of Bannachra, pertaining to the 
deceased Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss, in the 
month of July, 1592, besieging of the said house of 
Bannachra, and raising of fire and burning thereof, and 
for the slaughter of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, and 
ravishing of Jean Colquhoun, his eldest daughter. 

"The other entry in the Records of the Privy Council, 

on 13th January, 1614, shows that John, Earl of Mar, 

became surety for John MacFarlane (son of Andrew, 

14th Chief), now of Arrochar, that he should appear 

and answer for the same crimes as those specified in the 

preceding entry. A contract which was entered into 

between Alexander Colquhoun of Luss and Malcolm 

MacFarlane (of Gartartan) in 1603, also shows that 

the MacFarlanes were accused of being art and part 

in the murder of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun and his 

three servants." 


"While it is plain how Sir Humphrey was assassinated, 
it is unknown by whose hand the deadly arrow was 
actually shot. A contemporary chronicler (Robert 
Birrell, a Burgess of Edinburgh) has noted in a diary 
of events that happened in his time, which he recorded 
just as they occurred, that on ' November 30th (1592), 
John Colquhoun was beheaded at the Cross of Edin- 
burgh, for murdering of his own brother, the Laird of 
Luss.' The painful charge against John Colquhoun of 
imbruing his hands in his brother's blood, rests on the 
authority of Birrell alone (an authority which Fraser, in 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 75 

other connections, accepts without cavil or dispute. 
— Ed). The family papers afford no evidence of it. 
The retour of the service of Alexander Colquhoun, the 
younger brother of John, as heir to him, in several 

rents which was expede on nth February, 

1607, and which states that John died in December, 
1592, seems to corroborate so far the statement of 
Birrell as to the time of the death of John, the slight 

discrepancy as to the month being unimportant 

It is possible that the statement of Birrell is inaccurate 
to this extent, that he should have recorded that the 
John Colquhoun who was executed was the servant, 
instead of the brother, of the Laird of Luss, the brother 
having died in the following month ; as we know 
that a servant of the name of Colquhoun was accessory 
to the murder ; and it is certainly very improbable 
that, in a fierce feud between the family of Colquhoun 
and the MacFarlanes, the next brother of the Chief of 
the Colquhouns would voluntarily take part with the 
enemies of his house against his own brother and Chief, 
and actually shoot him dead with his own hand. 

"Inthe conflict which led to thedeathof SirHumphrey, 
the Colquhouns were overpowered, and were entirely 
at the mercy of the victors. As they bribed the servant 
of the vanquished to accomplish the death of the 
Chief, and also assaulted his innocent daughter, and 
burned the castle, it is also probable that they may 
have captured John Colquhoun, the brother, and 
forced him to assist in the murder of his brother, Sir 
Humphrey, in such a manner as to make him 
responsible for that crime, and save themselves, as 
there is no trace that any MacFarlane or MacGregor 
suffered at the same time with John Colquhoun." 

It will be seen that Fraser is at great pains to explain 
away this damning evidence to the extent, it seems to 
us, of making himself ridiculous. We shall leave his 
ingenuous statement to the judgment of our readers. 
We are grateful, however, to the worthy burgess. 

76 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Birrell, of Edinburgh, for keeping a diary. A judge 
once remarked, " Fools keep diaries," but this fool, we 
are prone to think, was justified in his folly. 

Fr£Lser, throughout his writings on behalf of the 
Colquhouns, is thorough paced in his condemnation 
of the MacFarlanes. Thieves, robbers, murderers — 
the words flow from his pen with unction. His 
indignation could not have been greater had he been 
himself a Colquhoun ; but when he is bound to record 
doubtful practices indulged in by the same John, they 
become merely boyish pranks, reprehensible certainly, 
but not to be regarded seriously, as for instance, " John, 
it would appear, had acquired notoriety by his 
adventures in harassing and despoiling the tenants of 
neighbouring lands." These adventures (sic) included 
a cart horse worth 20 pounds stolen from John Dennis- 
toun of Colgrain, and a grey horse and a dun grey mare 
from the widow of Patrick Lawrie of Colgrain. He 
also stole a brown horse of the value of £20 from the 
brother of the widow, as well as a grey mare worth 
£16, while, from Camiseskan, he " lifted " two cows 
and six sheep. 

But Fraser's picture was to the order of his patron. 
Sir James Colquhoun, and he must needs paint with a 
white brush. 

Disguise the fact as he may, John Colquhoun was 
what we would call " a bad lot," and may well have 
killed his brother. He was the cause also of a feud 
between the Galbraiths and Colquhouns by killing 
Donald MacNeill MacFarlane, household servant of 
Robert Galbraith of Culcreuch. The following is the 
reference : — 

In 1593 Galbraith obtained a commission of 
justiciary for pursuing the Clan Gregor, which involved 
power to convene the lieges. Alexander Colquhoun, 
15th of Colquhoun and 17th of Luss, and Aulay Mac- 
Aulay of Ardincaple, however, suspected that Galbraith 
had really secured this power to extend his malice 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 77 

against them, and, " under the pretext of searching 
for MacGregors, to besiege and burn their houses." 
They accordingly complained that Galbraith had 
already given proof of such an intention by raising 
the Buchanans against Ardincaple, also the deadly 
feud betwixt Alexander Colquhoun of Luss and 
Galbraith, by reason of the slaughter of the deceased 
Donald MacNeill MacFarlane, household servant to 
Robert Galbraith, committed by Alexander Colquhoun's 
late brother, still stood between their houses, 
unreconciled, and the Laird of Culcreuch was daily 
awaiting for opportunities to avenge that slaughter. 
On these and other grounds, Colquhoun and MacAulay 
were exempted from the duty of pursuing the Mac- 
Gregors on that occasion. 

As this Alexander, the third son of Sir John 
Colquhoun, succeeded his brother — he was laird in the 
year following the Bannachra affair (1593) — ^there seems 
little doubt that it was, in truth, John, the brother of 
Sir Humphrey, and not, " a gillie of that name," who 
was executed in Edinburgh in 1592. And who more 
likely to suborn the traitor Colquhoun than a 
Colquhoun. Certainly, if there was any suborning it 
was more likely to be the work of John Colquhoun 
than John MacFarlane. The circumstantial account 
of the Bannachra raid, given by the Rev. James 
Dewar, seems to be much more probable, especially in 
regard to the Colquhoun traitor. Fraser's elaborately 
conceived plot for the killing of Sir Humphrey is alto- 
gether a tax upon our credulity. It is not reasonable 
to suppose that such a plan could be formed in the 
course of a short retreat and pursuit. There was so 
much against the particular circumstances arising 
which necessarily had to be anticipated. 

But whatever hand John Colquhoun had in the 
slaughter of his brother, historians and antiquarians 
persist in charging the death of Sir Humphrey 
Colquhoun upon the Clan MacFarlane. They do 

78 History of Clan MacFarlane 

not, however, agree as to the time and circumstance, 
some asserting it to have been done upon the evening 
of the bloody slaughter of Glenfruin, after the victory 
over the Colquhouns in 1603. Buchanan for instance, 
writes : — " The Laird of Luss having escaped from the 
battle was afterwards killed by the MacFarlanes 
through the influence of a certain nobleman whom 
Colquhoun had disobliged," and Sir Walter Scott 
accepts Buchanan's version ; but the inviolable 
tradition as handed down in the MacFarlane family 
and written down by the Rev. James Dewar, M.A., 
when minister of Arrochar, appears to us to be nearest 
the truth. 

The Raid of Glen Finlas. 

Mr. Dewar's narrative runs as follows : — " In the 
reign of James VI., MacFarlane's dwelhng-house was 
at Tarbet, on the shores of Loch Lomond, close to 
where the school-house now stands. At that time, 
when the taking of cattle from the Lowlanders 
was a gentlemanly occupation, MacFarlane levied 
the ' blackmail ' for the rent of the Earl of Lennox's 
land, and protected the tenants from robbers. He 
had a band of one hundred men living between Loch 
Sloy and Tarbet, ready to arm at the shortest notice. 
He (John, afterwards 15th chief) was married to a lady 
by name Buchanan of Kilmaronock. She, as was the 
custom in that day, spun and made webs of cloth. 
Her weaver lived at Banairich, a mile below Luss. 
She often had an excuse to go to his house. There 
were no roads then, and when she went, it was by boat. 
Reports of her improper intimacy with Sir Humphrey 
Colquhoun had reached MacFarlane, and his jealousy 
was aroused. On one occasion she wished to go to her 
weaver's with a web. MacFarlane was unwilling to 
allow her, and desired her to send a servant instead, 
but she would not listen to his request, and as she was 
hastily dressing, a note fell from her garments, which 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 79 

her husband hfted, unperceived by her. On reading 
the paper, he found it contained an arrangement for 
the meeting, that day, of his lady and Sir Humphrey 

" After she had left, MacFarlane aroused his ' Air- 
phi,' and marched them down by the most direct road, 
across Glen Douglas. They crossed Luss Glen at 
Auchengarna, came through the wood above 
Banaridhu, and surrounded the house. They could 
see Mrs. MacFarlane and Sir Humphrey walking 
together. He understood that the MacFarlanes had 
not come as friends, and fled for refuge to his castle of 
Bannachra, about five miles distant, and outrunning 
his pursuers, had all the doors secured before they 
came up. The MacFarlanes were unable to force the 
doors, nor did they know in what part of the castle 
he was concealed, but finding Sir Humphrey's body- 
servant in an outhouse, they brought him to Mac- 
Farlane, who put his sword to the servant's breast, 
saying, ' Tell me in what part of the castle your master 
is concealed, or I will run this sword through you.' 
The poor wretch, thus threatened, told where Sir 
Humphrey was hidden, when MacFarlane caused his 
men to bring brush, heather and wood and set fire 
to them on the windy side of the castle. 

" The smoke forced Sir Humphrey to open a window 
for breath, when one of MacFarlane's men shot him 
with an arrow that gave him a mortal wound. The 
doors were then opened, and Sir Humphrey was 
delivered into MacFarlane's hands, who caused him to 
be beheaded at once, and the body mutilated in 

In returning, they took the gates of the castle of 
Ross Dhu, which were of iron, with them, and carried 
them to Arrochar, where they remained in the 
possession of the MacFarlanes until the estate was sold 
to Ferguson of Wraith in the year 1784. 

Mrs. MacFarlane had a bill of divorce served upon 

8o History of Clan MacFarlane 

her, and leaving Arrochar, she went to live with her 
relatives. Some time thereafter, Sir Humphrey's 
successor requested MacFarlane to send back the 
gates. He repHed : "If you want the gates, come and 
take them away." 

Soon Colquhoun of Luss collected his men and came 
up through the " String of Luss " to revenge himself 
on MacFarlane, and to recover the old gates of his 
castle. The Arrochar people did not expect them, 
and Colquhoun came upon them unawares. 

MacFarlane and MacFarlane of Gartartan were in 
his house, drinking ale, when they arrived. Mac- 
Farlane leaped from a back window and hid in the 
thicket. The Colquhouns searched the house, but 
while doing so the cry of " Loch Sloy " was sounded, 
and MacFarlane's men came to their chief's aid. 
MacFarlane led his gathered men. The Colquhouns 
stood on a common between where Tarbet House now 
stands and Glen Tarbet rivulet. The MacFarlanes 
were gathered on the opposite side, and the chiefs 
began to parley, but it soon became apparent that the 
MacFarlanes were too numerous for the Luss men, and 
the chief of the Colquhouns and his men hastily fled 
above the woods and along by Loch Lomond, where 
there was a foot-path, never again coming to claim the 
gates of Ross Dhu. 

The gates, it is said, were kept at Tighvechtan, " The 
House of the Watch," in Tarbet Glen." 

It wiU be observed that Fraser omits all reference to 
Ross Dhu, although in Colquhoun's claim, dated 1603, 
against Andrew MacFarlane is mention of damage 
done to, "the manor place and fortilice of Rossdhu." 

The brutal assault upon Jean Colquhoun, mentioned 
by Fraser, tends also to confirm the accuracy of the 
Arrochar tradition. To men of those times " an eye 
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" was simple justice. 

It seems rather superfluous in the circumstances for 
Alexander Colquhoun, on 8th May, 1593, to bind 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 8i 

himself not to harbour or protect any of the surname 
of MacFarlane, under pain of £2,000 Scots, but this 
was merely a case of the new laird putting his signature 
to a general bond of 1587, which was directed also 
against the Buchanans and MacGregors. Robert 
Erskine of Sauchie having become surety, on 13th 
September, 1593, that Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, 
his men, tenants and servants, for whom he was 
answerable, should satisfy persons scathed. Alexr. 
Colquhoun, by making the usual charges of the 
MacFarlanes having at divers times committed 
robberies, thefts, hardships, incursions, depredations, 
and oppressions upon the people of Luss, without, be 
it remarked, giving the reasons for the same, the Col- 
quhoun Chief obtained letters of prohibition under the 
Royal Signet, 12th December, 1593, addressed to the 
sheriffs of Stirling, charging them to prohibit the said 
Robert Erskine from selHng, alienating, and disposing 
of any of his lands, heritages, corns, cattle, goods, or 
gear, and to prohibit, by open proclamation, at the 
market cross of Stirling and other places needful, the 
lieges from buying, receiving, or taking in " woadset " 
from the said Robert any of his (Colquhoun's) lands, etc. 

Adam Colquhoun of Milton, in like manner, brought 
an action of contravention against Wm. Cunningham 
of Polmaise, who had become a cautioner for the 
MacFarlanes, before the Lords of Session ; and on 
1st March, 1595, he obtained a decree, decerning 
that the MacFarlanes had been guilty, as charged 
by the complainer, and that William Cunningham 
had incurred the pains contained in the act of 
cautionary, and that therefore, he should pay the 
one- half of these pains to his Majesty, and the other half 
to Adam Colquhoun, the party aggrieved. 

It was on 2 1st March, 1590, that Wm. Cunningham 
became cautioner with regard to Letters of Lawborrows 
(legal security) registered in the Books of Secret 
Council for John MacFarlane, son and apparent heir of 


82 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, Andrew MacFarlane 
of Gartavartane, Malcolm, Andrew, and John Dow 
MacFarlane, his three sons, Malcolm Beg MacFarlane 
in the Letter, and Walter MacFarlane, his son, that 
Adam Colquhoun in Milton, his wife, bairns, tenants, 
and servants, should be harmless and skaithless in 
their bodies, lands, possessions, and goods, under 
various penalties. John MacFarlane, apparent of 
Arrochar, under the pain of 5,000 merks, Andrew 
MacFarlane of Gartavartane, under the pain of 1,000 
merks, and each of the other persons mentioned under 
the pain of 300 merks. It was claimed by Colquhoun 
that the MacFarlanes had contravened, on divers 
occasions, the said Act of Cautionary. Adam Colqu- 
houn raised this action, and William Cunningham was 
condemned to pay the aforesaid penalties. 

On 23rd December, 1595, a charge was directed 
against a considerable number of persons, under deadly 
feud, nobles, knights, barons, and others to appear 
personally before the King and Council at Holjnrood- 
house, to underly such order as should be prescribed 
touching the removal of these feuds, and various efforts 
were made to restore harmony between the MacFarlanes 
and the Colquhouns. As a result a truce appears to 
have been made. In 1597 the Laird of Luss received 
from John Erskine, Earl of Mar, a bond assuring him 
that he and his tenants would remain unmolested by 
the MacFarlanes. It reads : — 

" Be it known to all men by these presents, we John, 
Earl of Mar, Lord Erskine, for ourself, and taking the 
burden upon us for Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, 
John MacFarlane his eldest son, fiar thereof, Andrew 
MacFarlane of Gartavartane, Malcolm MacFarlane, his 
eldest son, fiar thereof, and the remaining surname of 
MacFarlane, our kin, friends, men, tenants, servants, 
dependents, assistants, partakers, and all others that 
are Uable to undergo the law, desire to state and, by 
the tenour hereof, specially and expressly assure 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 83 

Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, his kin, friends, men, 
etc., that they shall be unhurt, unharmed, unmolested, 
untroubled, uninvaded, or in any wise pursued, crimin- 
ally or ' eiuilye,' in the law, or by the law, by me or our 
foresaid, for whatsoever cause, quarrel, or occasion 
bygone, preceding the date hereof, unto the nth day 
of November next to come ; promising to observe, 
and cause these presents to be observed and kept 
inviolate in any point, under the pain of ' periurie,' 
infamy, and loss of perpetual credit, honour, and 
estimation, in time coming. In witness whereof, we, 
for OUT help, and taking the burden upon us, as said, 
subscribe these presents, as follows, at StirUng Castle, 
the first day of June, the year of God, fifteen hundred 
and ninety-seven, before these witnesses, Harry Shaw, 
Thomas Howme, Charles Panter and Andrew Buchanan, 
our servants. j_ j^^^_ 

A. Buchanan, Witness. 
Thomas Howme, Witness." 

On the 7th of November, 1597, Alexander Colquhoun 
subscribed a similar bond, carrjdng the truce to a later 
date, namely, " unto the last of November instant." 

The disturbances caused by these clan contentions 
in the South Highlands were a source of great uneasiness 
and anxiety to James VI. and his Government, so for 
the preservation of the peace, his Majesty and the 
lords of the Privy Council issued letters to the sheriffs 
requiring them to command the principal men within 
their jurisdiction to find sufficient sureties, to be 
registered in the Books of the Privy Council for their 
good behaviour. 

Ludovic, Duke of Lennox, was appointed by His 
Majesty's Commissioner of Justiciary, within the shire 
of Dumbarton, regality and dukedom of Lennox, to 
carry out suitable measures. Apparently he made a 
determined effort to settle the many vexed questions 
amongst the Lennox Clans, but not with entire success. 

84 History of Clan MacFarlane 

In the Montrose Charter- chest is an undated paper 
to Ludovic, containing offers made and given in by 
John MacFarlane, fiar of Arrochar (eldest son of Andrew), 
and Malcolm MacFarlane, fiar of Gartavartane (third of 
Gartartan), with special consent of Andrew MacFarlane 
of Arrochar, and Andrew Dow MacFarlane of Gartavar- 
tane, their fathers, for themselves and their kin, 
friends, and surname, for whom they were answerable. 
They offer first, to satisfy all parties scathed by 
any of their deeds in time past, his Lordship assigning 
to them a reasonable day for that purpose ; and, 
secondly, to find sufficient landed noblemen as 
cautioners and sureties for them in regard to the time 
to come, that they should compear before his Lordship, 
at his command, on a reasonable day, to answer for 
themselves and their friends foresaid, and to make 
satisfaction for any scathe that they might hereafter 
commit, and to deliver up the perpetrators, or else to 
banish them out of the bounds of Arrochar, and to give 
them no assistance, supply, or entertainment, either 
directly or indirectly. A concluding paragraph, how- 
ever, leaves unsettled the feud with the Colquhouns. 

There was to be no forgiving and forgetting, for the 
MacFarlanes say, " Last under protestation that these 
offers fasten nothing against them for any particulars, 
standing or committed, in times bygone, between them 
and the house of Luss, in respect of the deadly feud 
standing between them unreconciled, until the same be 
taken away. Otherwise they offer all that they may 
do in anyway, their lives and lands being excepted, and 
pray his lordship to take some good order, therewith." 

This appears to have been in the nature of a private 
communication. When the matter came to a public 
issue the MacFarlanes were still more cautious. They 
would only make restitution in proved cases of 
injustice. They, however, entered into the usual 
bonds, for what these were worth ; very little, we are 
inclined to think. 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 85 

At Glasgow, on 21st November, 1599, the Duke 
decided that the various landlords of the county, and 
generally all others, having broken men upon their 
lands and heritages, should find sufficient cautioners 
and sureties to his Lordship, that they and their men 
should be answerable to justice before his Lordship 
and his deputies, and give redress to parties who should 
be scathed. 

The Chief of the Clan MacFarlane declared that they 
were not able to find the said caution, but offered to 
make restitution of all bygone theft, reif , and oppression 
so far as the parties that had sustained loss were able to 
make proof thereof. His Lordship therefore, at the 
same meeting, in order to the settlement of such 
questions, ordained that the party who was scathed 
should elect a number of honest men, not exceeding 
16 persons, dwelling within the shire of Dumbarton 
and regality of Lennox, " or four halves about," and 
that the person accused of committing the crime, 
should, out of this number, choose the one-half, as a 
jury, by whose verdict he should either be exculpated, 
or sentenced to refund the scathe that had been done. 

For refunding that loss John MacFarlane, fiar of 
Arrochar, and Malcolm Dow MacFarlane of Gartavar- 
tane, as principals for themselves and their clan and 
surname of MacFarlane, were to find sufficient 
cautioners, in so far as they had not been already found; 
and that good order might be the better kept in future 
by the clan and surname of MacFarlane, it was 
ordained that the said John and Malcolm MacFarlane 
should be warded by the said noble lord until satis- 
faction should be made by them or their cautioners for 
the said bygone scathe, which should be done before 
the ist of March following, and also until the said John 
and Malcolm found sufficient cautioners, under the 
pain of 5,000 merks ; John, 3,000 and Malcolm, 2,000 3 
that they, their said clan and surname, should abstain 
forthwith from aU theft and oppression in time coming, 

History of Clan MacFarlane 

and should refund the scathe that should happen to 
be committed by any of them to the person damaged, 
upon its being proven. It was further ordained that 
the said John and Malcolm should enter the committers 
of the said crimes prisoners for trial by the said noble 
lord, or should banish them forthwith from the bounds 
over which they had authority, and that should the 
principals, when they had opportunity, neglect to 
apprehend them before their banishment, or harbour 
or maintain the fugitives when they re-entered within 
the said bounds, or suffer to pass tbrough their bounds 
any other thieves, clans, or oppressors, whom it might 
be in their power to prevent, they should be held 
culpable of the said crimes. 

Soon after, John MacFarlane, fiar of Arrochar, and 
Malcolm MacFarlane, fiar of Gartavartane, appeared 
before Ludovic, Duke of Lennox for the purpose of 
giving the security required. Sir Patrick Maxwell of 
Newark (John's grandfather) became cautioner for 
John, and David Cunningham of Ibert, Walter Leckie 
of Easter Poldar, and Wm. Graham of Doucheall 
(Duchray) (?), for Malcolm, binding themselves to 
present them before the Duke, within the Castle of 
Edinburgh, upon the ist day of December, 1600, within 
the space of 15 days after his Lordship's letters were 
delivered to the parties for whom they were cautioners, 
under the pain of 5,000 merks, that the said persons 
might redress, " any enormities, reifs, thefts or scathes," 
that should be committed by them or those for whom 
they were answerable. 

As we have suggested, the Colquhouns had small 
success with their law pleas, and in 1602 no restitution 
apparently having been made, they were, somewhat 
naturally, becoming impatient. On the 6th of January 
of that year, Walter, James, and Adam Colquhoun, of 
Milton of Colquhoun, and others, assigned their claims 
against the MacFarlanes to their Chief, Alexander. 
These included the award already detailed of the 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 87 

" decreet arbitral," of 1590, for the damage done in 
Duncan's time and some depredations of February, 
1589 ; the horses, cows, oxen, and other goods and gear, 
wrongously taken away from them, out of their rooms 
and possessions, by Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, 
John MacFarlane, fiar of Arrochar, Humphrey ]\Tac- 
Farlane, his brother, Malcolm MacFarlane of Gartavar- 
tane, and their accomplices. 

The Chief of Colquhoun apparently took no action 
upon this assignation, for, on March 12th, 1603, a 
large number of the friends and dependents of the 
Laird of Luss — Colquhouns of Blairvaddich, Kil- 
patrick, Kilmardinny, Camstradden, and Hill — 
obtained a decree of the Lords of Council and Session 
against Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar and his two 
sons, John and Humphrey, commanding them to make 
restitution to the pursuers of certain goods, gear, 
inside plenishings, " abnilzeimentis " and other 
property of which they had wrongously despoiled them, 
and to make payment to them of the price and profit 
of the same, each to pay his own proportion, as is 
particularly expressed in the decree. 

From a list preserved at Ross Dhu of the beasts, 
goods, and gear, taken by the MacFarlanes, from the 
Laird of Luss and his tenants in the years 1590 to 1594, 
an idea can be found of the vast nature of the despoiling. 

Below we give the details of the four years, in respect 
to the animals " lifted." 


5 Horses, ... 

2 Staiggis, - - - 
2 1 Mares and 1 1 Foals, 
21 Cows, - . - 

5 Oxen, ... 
20 Sheep, . - - 

Carried forward, - - - ^1,106 13 












History of Clan MacFarlane 


Brought forward, - - - ;^i,io6 13 4 

8 Horses, - - . . _ ^148 o o 

2 Staiggis, 20 o o 

15 Mares and 3 Foals, - - - 197 6 8 

26 Cows, .... - 222 13 4 

II Oxen, 138 o o 

68 Sheep, - - . . _ 102 o o 


7 Horses, ^436 o o 

2 Staiggis, 26 134 

13 Mares and 5 Foals, - - - 262 o o 

34 Cows, 357 o o 

10 Oxen, . - . . - 1^0 o o 

44 Sheep, 98 00 


I Horse, - - . - . ^20 o o 

1 Stag, 10 00 

3 Mares, 36 134 

4 Cows, --... 46 00 
4 Oxen, 56 00 

8 Sheep, 1200 


4 Horses, - . - . . £gQ 13 ^ 

I Stag, 6 13 4 

20 Mares, 197 13 4 

37 Cows, 385 o o 

10 Oxen, - . . . . 132 o o 

24 Sheep, .-... 21 00 

;^4.37i o o 
The summons also contains a statement of the 

profits lost by the theft of the animals in the five years, 

from the time of theft to the date of the summons. 

The whole amount claimed is £155,501 8s. 

The above list is, of course, exclusive of the " inside 

gear," i.e., household furniture and other goods taken. 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 

A few months later the various Colquhoun claimants, 
apparently for the second time, assigned their claims 
to their Chief. It will be observed that in the summons 
above referred to, only the Arrochar MacFarlanes are 
named, Andrew the Chief and his two sons, John and 
Humphrey. The explanation of this is that a little 
later in the year a reconciliation, probably then 
pending, was effected between the Colquhouns and the 
Gartartan MacFarlanes. This rather seems to indicate 
that John and Malcolm, the eldest sons of Arrochar 
and Gartartan, were not acting in the same cordial 
unison as before. At all events, a bond was entered 
into between Alexander Colquhoun and Malcolm 
MacFarlane, apparent heir of Gartavartane, for 
himself, and in name of his brothers, his father's 
brothers, and the sons of his father's brothers. This 
bond confirms that the MacFarlanes were art and part 
in the slaughter of Sir Humphrey and his three servants. 

Alexander Colquhoun bound himself to stop pro- 
ceedings against Malcolm MacFarlane and those whom 
he represented, on account of these slaughters, and to 
grant them a remission for the spoilations and thefts 
which they had committed at Colquhoun, Connaltown, 
Tullychewan, the manor place andf ortalice of Ross Dhu, 
on his brother, Sir Humphrey, himself, and their 
tenants. On the other hand, Malcolm became bound 
to grant a bond of manrent and service to Alexander 
Colquhoun, himself, and his friends, against all men, 
except the Duke of Lennox ; and engaged, should that 
bond be contravened by himself personally, to pay to 
Alexander Colquhoun 5,000 merks, and should it be 
contravened by others, to deliver up the contravenors to 
Alexander, and failing which, to pay to him for every 
contravention, 1,000 merks. It was further stipulated 
that this agreement in no way affected the claims of the 
Laird of Luss against Andrew MacFarlane, Laird of 
Arrochar and his sons, John and Humphrey, and their 
friends, for their part in these crimes. 

90 History of Clan MacFarlane 

One reason why the Colquhouns suffered so seriously 
at this time without being in a position to pay back in 
kind, was probably the fact that all their neighbours to 
the north and west, MacGregors, MacAulays, Mac- 
Farlanes, and Campbells, were more or less in league 
against them. Besides, the MacFarlanes, the Duke of 
Argyll, and the Clan MacGregor had reasons of their 
own for attacking the Colquhouns. The lands of Luss, 
indeed, suffered more at the hands of the MacGregors 
than even at those of the MacFarlanes. These 
invasions culminated in the Raid of Glenfinlas, 17th 
December, 1602, and the historic battle of Glenfruin, 
7th February, 1603. 

Just as the MacGregors assisted the MacFarlanes in 
the Bannachra raid of 1592, so apparently John 
MacFarlane, the heir apparent of Arrochar, lent his 
strength to the MacGregor enterprise*. Dougall 
MacCoull MacFarlane, sometime in Drumfad and 
afterwards in Tullichintaull, whom we have already 
mentioned as being indicted in respect to the Ban- 
nachra affair with John MacFarlane, afterwards of 
Arrochar, were accused of " being in the company with 
the late Alastair MacGregor of Glenstra, his kin and 
friends at the field of Glenfruin." 

In a note to " Rob Roy," in allusion to the murder 
of the students from Dumbarton College, who came to 
witness the battle of Glen Fruin, Sir Walter Scott 
wrote : — 

" An ancient and constant tradition preserved among 
the inhabitants of Dumbartonshire, and particularly 
those of the Clan MacFarlane, reheves Dugald Ciar 
Mor (ancestor of Rob Roy) of the guilt of murdering 
a party of students for clerical orders from Dumbarton 
who had imprudently come out to witness the battle. 

* Readers of " The Red Fox " should note that in that novel, 
for narrative purposes, the three invasions are made to appear as 
if one, and that apocryphal event ante-dated to the previous 
reign. [Ed.] 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 91 

The MacFarlane legend attributes the blame to a 
certain Donald or Duncan Lean, who performed the 
act of cruelty with the assistance of a gillie who attended 
him, named Charlioch, or Charlie. They say that 
the homicides dared not again join the clan, but that 
they resided in a wild and solitary state as outlaws in 
an unfrequented part of the MacFarlanes' territory. 
Here they lived for some time undisturbed, till they 
committed an act of brutal violence on two defenceless 
women, a mother and daughter of the MacFarlane 
Clan. In revenge of this atrocity the MacFarlanes 
hunted them down and shot them. It is said that the 
younger ruffian, Charlioch, might have escaped, being 
remarkably swift of foot. But his crime became his 
punishment, for the female whom he had outraged 
had defended herself desperately and had stabbed 
him with his own dirk in the thigh. He was lame from 
the wound and was the more easily overtaken and 

As is well known, after this battle the MacGregors 
were proscribed and harassed upon all sides. In 16 11 
their chief refuge was an island of Loch Katrine, where 
they accumulated warlike stores and food supplies. 
It was necessary therefore that the Government in its 
determination to extirpate the clan should attack by 
boat, and they proposed to transfer all " the boats and 
birlingis " upon Loch Lomond to Loch Katrine for 
this purpose. Accordingly the Privy Council issued 
an order, ordaining that all his Majesty's subjects 
bet\vixt sixteen and sixty years of age, within the shire 
of Dumbarton, Stewartry of Menteith, and six parishes 
of the Lennox, in the Shire of Stirling, should be 
summoned by open proclamation at the market cross 
of Dumbarton, Stirling, Doune and Menteith to meet 
at the head of Loch Lomond on the 12th of February, 
1611, for the purpose of carrying the boats and birhngs 
which were upon Loch Lomond to Loch Katrine. 

Meantime Colquhoun, exasperated by his great loss 

92 History of Clan MacFarlane 

at the battle of Glen Fniin, was preparing personally 
to head an attack upon the outlawed clan. On the 
31st of January, 1611, he appeared at Stiriing before 
the Privy Council in company with John, Eari of TulU- 
bardine, William, Lord Murray, his son Henry, Lord 
St. Colme, Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurquhy, knight. 
Sir George Buchanan of that Ilk, James Campbell of 
Lawers, and Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar. Each 
of them undertook, " to go to the fields and to enter 
into action and blood against " the Clan Gregor 
between that date and the 13th of February following, 
and to prosecute that service for a month at his own 
charges. Thereafter the King was to defray the 
expenses of the maintenance of 100 men to assist them, 
whilst they were to bear the cost of another 100 men 
until the service should be ended. At the same time 
Duncan Campbell, Captain of Carrick, was required to 
remove all boats out of Loch Long and Loch Goil, that 
the Clan Gregor might have no passage on these 

The appearance of Andrew MacFarlane in the 
company of the laird of Colquhoun indicates that the 
feud between the two clans had at last been reconciled. 
We have not been able to trace how this was brought 
about, but the settlement was effected before 1610, as 
appears by a decree of the Lords of Council of 15th 
February of that year. In introducing this item of 
history, Eraser has the grace, at last, to say, " The 
cause of this feud was the slaughter of one of the Clan 
MacFarlane, Humphrey MacFarlane, father of John 
MacDouill Vic Neill MacFarlane, committed by Sir 
Humphrey Colquhoun." 

The decree of the Lords of Council acquits Alexander 
Colquhoun of Luss from an action raised against him, 
at the instance of Gillemor Macllerith, in Little Hills, 
Glen, who had summoned him to exhibit, personally, 
before the Lords of Secret Council on 15th February, 
1610, John MacDouill Vic Neill MacFarlane, who, on 

Andrew — ^Fourteenth Chief 93 

8th January preceding had been denounced rebel, and 
put to the horn, by virtue of letters raised at the 
instance of Gillemor Macllerith, for not finding 
sufficient caution acted in the books of adjournal for 
his personal appearance before the justice and his 
deputies on a certain day bygone, to have submitted 
himself to the law for the cruel murder and slaughter 
of the said Gillemor's daughter, Catherine, committed 
by him. 

Alexander Colquhoun was summoned to exhibit the 
said John MacDouill Vic Neill MacFarlane, because that 
person was his tenant and servant, dwelling in the 
lands of Shemore Glenfinlas, and for whom, therefore, 
it was affirmed, he ought by the laws of the realm, 
acts of Parliament, and general bond, to answer, and 
whom he should present for trial. The decree is in 
the following terms : — 

" The Lords of Secret Council acquit completely the 
said Alexander Colquhoun of Luss from the prosecution 
and petition of the said pursuer in this matter, and 
from all the points, clauses and articles contended in 
the said summons and find him free therefrom in time 
coming, because the said Lords understand that deadly 
feud and enmity, which was of long continuance 
between the said Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, his 
kin and friends on the one part, and the Clan Farlane 
on the other part, which existed upon the occasion of 
the slaughter of Humphrey MacFarlane, father to the 
said John MacDouill Vic Neill MacFarlane and was 
committed by Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss, 
brother of the said Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, is 
now by the King Maj esty's special direction reconciled 
and agreed, and the barbarous and detestible cruelties 
which fell out upon the occasion of that feud altogether 
removed, and that the exhibition of the said John 
MacDouill MacFarlane will not only give occasion to 
revive and renew the said feud but will cause great 
trouble and disquiet in the country, and also because 

94 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, Chief and Chieftain 
of the whole Clan Farlane, has found caution and 
surety for making of all those persons for whom he is 
held to answer, obedient and answerable to justice, 
conformable to the laws of this realm, acts of Parlia- 
ment, and general bond, and that the said pursuer may 
have good action against the said Andrew MacFarlane 
as Chief and Chieftain of the clan, and against his 
cautioners for the exhibition of the said John 
MacDouill Vic Neill MacFarlane who is one of the 
branches of the said clan, and in the revenge of whose 
father's slaughter committed by the said Sir Humphrey 
Colquhoun of Luss, the whole clan assisted and took 
part. For the which causes the said Lords acquit the 
said Alexander Colquhoun of Luss in the manner 

Fraser, or rather one of his ghosts (see Preface), 
adds : " The facts recorded in this decree go far to 
explain the cause of the violent depredations committed 
by the clan of MacFarlane upon the lands and tenants 
of the Laird of Luss in the year 1590, and in subsequent 

Harking back a little we find it stated that in 1608 
the Clan MacFarlane were declared rebels at law, and 
that may have had an influence upon the final com- 
position of the deadly feud. 

The "plantation of Ulster" of 1608-10 we believe 
accounts for the settlements of MacFarlanes in the 
North of Ireland, particularly in County Tyrone. The 
king (James VI.) adopted the experiment which on a 
smaller scale he had tried in the island of Lewis. The 
Province of Ulster was to be sub-divided into lots, and 
offered on certain conditions to colonists from Scotland 
and England. In March 1609, there came a letter to 
the Scottish Privy Council announcing the offer which 
His Majesty, " out of his unspeakable love and tender 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 95 

affection," now made to his Scottish subj ects. Seventy- 
seven Scots came forward as purchasers ; and if their 
offer had been accepted, they would have possessed 
among them 147,000 acres of Irish land. A re- 
arrangement which was made the following year, 
however, diminished the number of candidates. When, 
in the autumn of 1610, the Plantation actually began, 
fifty-nine was the number of the favoured Scots, and 
81,000 acres were to be set at their disposal. Of the 
fifty- nine, five were nobles — the Duke of Lennox 
(Ludovic, 2nd Duke and 17th Earl), his brother. Lord 
D'Aubigny (Esme Stewart, subsequently 3rd Duke and 
i8th Earl), the Earl of Abercorn, the Lord of Burley, 
and Lord Ochiltree. With the two heads of the 
Lennox family engaged in the enterprise, it is a fair 
inference that some of the MacFarlanes took advantage 
of this scheme and settled in Ulster. Others, of 
course, went at later times, but this event seems to 
suggest the first settlement of the MacFarlanes of 
Ulster, from whom so many American members of the 
clan are descended. 

It will have been observed throughout our account 
of the Colquhoun feud that John, Andrew's eldest son 
and heir- apparent, figured much more prominently 
than the chief himself, and the reason of this was that 
in 1581 Andrew put him in possession of the lands of 
Arrochar, reserving to himself only the liferent of the 
said lands. At that date Andrew's age would be 
37 years, and this course was probably taken as the 
clan, on account of the arduous nature of their warfare, 
required a younger leader. Be that as it may, on 30th 
May, 1581, John MacFarlane, son and heir apparent of 
Andrew MacFarlane of Arrochar, was on a precept of 
sasine by Esme, Earl of Lennox, invested in the lands 
of Arrochar MacGilchrist, in the Earldom of Lennox 
and shire of Dumbarton, between the rivulet of Nether 
Inveruglas and the rivulet of Trostane, by the resigna- 
tion of the said Andrew into the hands of the said noble 

96 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Lord, the lord superior, in favour of his son, John, the 
father reserving to himself the Hf erent of the said lands. 
Andrew we have seen was alive in 1611, but he died in 
that or the following year, and was most probably 
buried at Luss. 

The chiefs of MacFarlane who were hereditary lords 
of the soil, apparently always regarded Luss as their 
parish, worshipped in its church, and were buried in its 
graveyard. John caused an ornate stone to be carved 
and erected over his ancestors' sepulchre. When the 
new church was erected by Sir James Colquhoun, the 
stone was removed and built into the north wall of the 
new church, appropriately facing towards Arrochar, 
Surmounted by a death's head and an hour glass with 
crossbones on one side and on the other a crossed 
scythe and spade, it bears this inscription : — 

Here is the place of burial 

appointit for the Lairds of 

Arroquhar, buildit by Johne 

Mackfarlan Laird thairof 





J. M. I612. 

It is highly probable that John had this stone carved 
and erected after laying his father's remains in the 
grave. Andrew was 67 or 68 when he died, and for 
some 64 or 65 years he was Chief of the Clan — a long 

Malcolm Beg MacFarlane of The Letter in Stragart- 
ney, seems to have been a person of importance in the 
time of Andrew, the 12th chief, as he was, along with 
his son, Walter, held accountable, with the heads of 
the Arrochar and Gartartan famihes, for the alleged 
mis-deeds of the Clan in 1585 and 1590. He was 
probably a younger son of Walter of Ardleish. Prior 

Andrew — Fourteenth Chief 97 

to that time, in 1580, he had apparently been 
appointed by the king keeper of the forest of Glen- 
finlas, but that office was taken from him as the 
following from The Red Book of Menteith shows : 

" Letters by King James the Sixth, discharging 
Malcolm Beg MacFarlane from keeping of the forest 
of Glenfinlas — Holyrood House, 7th December, 1580. 
James, by the Grace of God, King of Scots, to our 
loved Thomas Wallace, Messenger, Messengers, Sherrif s 
in that part, ' coniunctlie ' and surely, specially 
constituted, greeting : Forasmuch as it is understood 
by us and the lords of our Secret Council that, lately, 
upon the day of November last, bypast, Malcolm Beg 
MacFarlane, in Letter, upon sinister and wrong 
information made to us privately obtained our other 
letter, subscribed with our hand, without the advice of 
our Council, giving and granting him the custody and 
keeping of our wood and forest of Glenfinlas, with the 
deer, therein, for a certain space, as the same at 
length details ; and seeing the same, as we are surely 
informed, has ' tendit and tindis,' altogether to our 
great hurt and ' lesions,' as also understanding our 
trusty cousin and councillor Sir James Stewart of 
Doune, knight, and his predecessors are and have been 
heritably invested in proper form and heritage in the 
keeping of the said wood and forest, and has been in 
continual possession thereof, to this hour ; and willing 
that our said trusty cousin and councillor be in no wise 
hurt nor deprived in his right and place of the said 
wood, but rather fortified and assisted therein, for his 
better and surer preservation of the same, our will is 
therefore, and we charge you straitly and command, 
that incontinently these our letters shall pass, and in 
our name and authority command and charge the said 
Malcolm Beg MacFarlane, Andrew MacFarlane of that 
Ilk, and all other pretending keepers of our said wood 
and forest, to desist and cease from all further occupa- 
tion, ' meUing,' keeping, cutting, or intromitting with 

History of Clan MacFarlane 

our said wood and forest or any part thereof, within 
24 hours next after they be charged by you thereto, 
under the pain of rebellion and putting of them to our 
horn, and if they fail therein, the said 24 hours being 
bypast, that you incontinently thereafter denounce 
the disobedience and rebellion, and put them to our 
horn, and escheet, and inbring all their movable goods 
to our use for their contemptiousness ; and such hke, 
that you, in our name and authority pass to the Market 
Crosses of our burghs of Stirling, Perth, parish kirk 
at Port Kilmadok, and other places needful, and let 
there be open proclamation, prohibition, command, 
and charge to all and sundry of our lieges and subjects 
whom it affects, that they nor none of them take 
upon hand to do nor attempt anything contrary to the 
tenour of these our letters, nor to answer, obey, or 
acknowledge any other forester or keeper of our said 
wood than our said trusty cousin, heritable fiar, 
aforesaid, and his deputies, under all highest pain and 
charge that after may follow, certifying them, that 
if they do anything to the contrary, they shall be 
punished therefor with all vigour according to law and 
conform to j ustice, as you will answer to us thereupon ; 
the which to do we commit to you our full power by 
these our letters, you delivering them duly executed and 
endorsed again to the bearer, Gavin, under our signet 
and subscribed with our hand at Hoi yrood- house, the 
vii. day of December, and of our reign the xiii. year, 

" Lenox. C. E. Ergyll." 

John — Fifteenth Chief 99 


John — 15TH Chief. 

Duke of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

LuDovic— 2nd Duke James VI. ,1567-1625. 

JOHN assumed the government of Arrochar in 1612. 
The character of the son of the hero of Langside, 
is difficult to estimate. He comes down to us as 
a gentleman of great piety, but that must have been a 
development of his later years. In his prime, he was, 
without doubt, of a most fiery and dominant nature, 
fierce and hasty of temper. Probably many of our 
readers will agree with our estimate when they have 
read his chronicle, that he was soured early in life by his 
first unfortunate marriage, and that repentance and 
grace came to him with his fourth matrimonial venture. 
John, as we have indicated, married four times. 
His first wife was Susanna, daughter of George 
Buchanan of that Ilk. She had no children, and as 
we have seen he divorced her. His second wife was 
Lady Helen Stewart, daughter of Francis, Earl of 
Bothwell, the madcap Earl. His heir, Walter, was 
born of that union. Thirdly, he married Elizabeth 
Campbell, a daughter of the family of Argyle, by whom 
he had four sons, Duncan, who died unmarried, 
Andrew of Drumfad, John, ancestor of the Glenralloch 
MacFarlanes, and George, ancestor of the MacFarlanes 
of Clachan. His fourth wife was Margaret, daughter 
of James Murray of Strowan and she had no children. 
On the 13th June, 1614, John, Earl of Mar, became 
surety for John MacFarlane, " then of Arrochar," that 

100 History of Clan MacFarlane 

he should appear on 3rd day of the next Justice- Aire 
of Dumbarton to underiie the law for the same crimes 
as have previously been mentioned. Dougall MacCoull 
MacFarlane was also named and the indictment included 
some later liftings of Colquhoun cattle, to wit, " For 
stealing of 70 cows and oxen belonging to Alexander 
Colquhoun of Luss, Robert Mac Walter, etc., from the 
lands of Glenmulloche, Immerstachin and Drum 
Macnilling, in the month of June, 1602. Item, for the 
stealing of six score cows and oxen in the month of 
July, 1602, out of the lands of Glenfinglas, belonging 
to the said Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, John Laing, 
Thos. McGHfadrick, and Patrick Colquhoun." 

Duncan, John's second son, seems to have taken 
after his father in his warlike proclivities as the 
following narrative from the manuscript of the Rev. 
James Dewar, M.A., bears out. 

Raid of the Athol Men 
" The Athol men were sent by the Regent of Scotland, 
on more than one occasion, to pillage Arrochar, and 
several battles were fought between them and 
MacFarlane, not now on record. On one occasion 
they had taken MacFarlane's cattle, and were about 
to drive them away from Arrochar. He was at that 
time in his house on Eilean-a-vow, and knowing their 
superior numbers, did not deem it prudent to land and 
oppose them ; his son, Duncan, proposed to row 
ashore and gather men enough to hold the Athol men 
in check that night, during which time the clan would 
be gathered. 

" This met with the Chief's approval. There was 
then a miU near Port Chapel, where a number of 3^oung 
men lounged who lived on the farmers of Ballnich. 
They were the sons of men who had been killed in 
battle, and were thus maintained. When a farmer 
had a meal in the mill, they were privileged to take as 
much meal from each sack as they could lift between 

John — Fifteenth Chief 

the open palms of their two hands, and carry to the 
door without scattering any ; if this happened, they 
must put the meal back in the sack. 

" Duncan MacFarlane went and got these young men, 
but they were poorly armed. He knew that the 
Athol men would attempt the Ford of Dhuglas. So 
Duncan took his men there, and they put clothing on 
the stumps of trees, knowing it would be dark when 
the Athol men would pass the ford, and hoping by 
this stratagem to deceive them with regard to numbers. 
When the enemy came in sight, some of them were 
going round an eminence, as though they were a 
reinforcement, and others with bows and arrows, 
were behind the stumps, to frighten the Athol men, 
and defend the ford. 

" When the enemy came up, they began to shoot at 
the clothed stumps, the MacFarlane men shooting 
their arrows back to them. They soon discovered 
them to be their own arrows. It was dark, and fearing 
an ambush, they did not attempt the ford, but retired 
up Strath- du-daning to a place called Grianach, three 
miles from Loch Sloy, where the Chief of the Mac- 
Farlane had hunting- houses. They went into one and 
spent the night, killing four cows and roasting the flesh 
for their suppers. They made merry with songs until 
late at night, when they laid down to sleep without 
posting sentinels. 

" Duncan MacFarlane, with his men, was watching 
them, and when all was still, they tied the doors on the 
outside, and set fire to the house, burning it with all 
the Athol men in it. The forest about the house was 
also burned and much valuable timber destroyed. 

" Duncan retired to Eilean-a-vow, and reported 
what he had done, but his father did not believe him, 
and sent two trusty messengers to reconnoitre, who 
returned, confirming Duncan's story. The father was 
so angry that he drove him from home, and he was ever 
after called Black Duncan. 

History of Clan MacFarlane 

" Among the ruins of the burned house were found 
sixty swords, many battle-axes and as many arrowheads 
as would fill a peck measure. Arrochar people long 
feared that the Athol men would come to be revenged, 
but they never again molested the Clan MacFarlane." 

The account of these incidents by the Reverend H. S. 
Winchester differs somewhat from that of Mr. Dewar, 
Mr. Winchester writes : — 

"Duncan was the instigator of a cruel deed which 
earned for him the name — given by his own father — 
' Donach dubh na dunach ' {i.e., Black Duncan 
of the mischief). A message arrived one evening 
from the watcher at Tighvechtan (the watch house) 
that a number of Lochaber men laden with booty 
were approaching Glenloin. Duncan who got the 
message, kept the news to himself, and going to 
the meal mill at Portachuple, where the young men 
used to gather in the evenings, he selected twenty 
stout fellows and made for the ford at Coire-ghrogain. 
Arriving there before the Lochaber men, he dressed up 
the stump of a tree to represent a man in armour, while 
he himself stood concealed on a knoll near at hand with 
his men close behind him. By the time the Lochaber 
men came up, it was growing dark, and mistaking the 
dressed-up stump for the leader of a party which was 
about to contest the ford, they began shooting arrows 
at it. Duncan waited until he thought their stock of 
arrows must be pretty well exhausted, and then he and 
his men rushed towards the ford, picked up the arrows, 
and shot them back with telling effect. 

" Deeming it vain to force the passage, the Lochaber 
men made a pretence of retiring, but really pursued 
their journey up the stream by a very rugged and 
difficult route on the south side. When they had 
rounded the head of Loch Sloy, and entered the valley 
beyond, seeing no trace of the foe, and being exhausted 
Mdth their trying journey, they halted and partook of 
some food. The night was cold, and as no signs of 

John — Fifteenth Chief 103 

pursuit could be seen or heard, they crept into a small 
wooden hut which then stood on the border of the forest 
of Scots firs which covered the country, and which was 
used for storing the winter's fuel. Duncan, however, 
had followed them, he had watched their movements 
at a safe distance, and after waiting until he felt sure 
that the tired Lochaber men must be fast asleep, he 
and his men crept stealthily to the hut, secured the 
door, and heaping dry brushwood around the wooden 
structure, set fire to the whole. The hut was soon in a 
blaze, and when daylight came, all that could be 
discovered of the Lochaber men was the heads of their 
axes, and the blades of their dirks. But the fire burnt 
more than the hut ; it caught the heather and the 
forest, and it swept everj^hing before it, leaving 
scarcely a tree standing or a tuft of heather between 
Loch Sloy and Garabal marsh." 

Fraser gives us yet another variation with an 
interesting sequel : — 

" Glenfalloch, which bounds the barony of Arrochar 
on the North, was the natural pass for the people of 
Athole into Arrochar on their way to the lower grounds 
in Menteith and Stirling, and many anecdotes are still 
current among the inhabitants of Arrochar of the 
raids of the Athole men on their ancestors. On one 
occasion the Athole men made a descent on Arrochar, 
and plundered the castle of the MacFarlanes on 
Eilean-a-vow, in the absence of the Chief and his 
retainers. On the return of the MacFarlane Chief, 
Duncan Dhu, or Black Duncan, his son, pursued and 
overtook the invaders in a shooting lodge in Staduish, 
which is a glen between Loch Sloy and the river Falloch. 
While the men of Athole were enjoying themselves with 
their plunder, Duncan Dhu and his party fastened the 
door of the shooting lodge and set it on fire. The fire 
consumed both the lodge and the invaders, and 
spreading, it reduced to ashes a large tract of the 
native Scotch fir trees with which the mountains were 

104 History of Clan MacFarlane 

then covered. Along these mountains roots of fir 
trees, charred with burning, are still quite common. 
The shepherds, in place of candles, use these charred 
stumps, which, from the rosin, similar to turpentine, 
contained in the wood, makes a very good light. 
' " On hearing of the conflagration, the father of 
Black Duncan, who foresaw that the enemy would be 
avenged, said to him : ' A bloody son you'll be to me.' 
As he had foreboded, three of the Athole men, 
friends of those who were burned, returned to Arrochar 
to avenge their death. Proceeding in search of 
Duncan Dhu, they found him — though ignorant of 
who he was, as he was personally unknown to them — 
engaged in splitting a log of wood on an island in the 
bay near Doune, in Lochlomond, called Eilean-a-ghoar. 
They asked him whether he knew the whereabouts of 
Black Duncan for that day. ' If you are very anxious,' 
he answered, ' to see him, I will go and point out where 
he is, if you will only wait a httle and assist me with my 
work,' — at the same time exacting from them an oath 
that they would never reveal his information. Direct- 
ing the Athole men to catch the log, which was partly 
split at one end, he made use of their strength in 
tearing it up, and while tightening the wedge, he 
struck it out of the log, which closed upon their hands, 
and held them fast like a vice. Having them now 
completely in his power, he vociferated, ' Here is 
Duncan Dhu ! What do you want with him ? ' He 
then coolly killed all the three men ; and from this 
desperate deed the small island is still called Eilean-a- 
Ghoar (the Bloody Island)." 

Mr. Winchester gives us an account of another of 
Black Duncan's exploits in the Uglas valley, as 
follows: — 

" Being informed that a small party were driving 
' cattle up Glenloin, Black Duncan waited their arrival 
between the ford of Coire-Ghroggain and Loch Sloy, 
at the place where the foot-path passes between two 

John — Fifteenth Chief 105 

stones which meet at a few feet from the ground, so 
that in passing through you have to bend forward in 
order to prevent your head from striking the top of 
this natural archway. Duncan and one of his men 
took up their positions on each side of this narrow 
passage, but quite concealed from those coming, and 
as the head of each man appeared beyond the stones, 
Duncan brought down his claymore with such force 
and skill as to sever the head from the body, while his 
companion pulled the body from the passage to keep 
it clear. Several were thus despatched before those 
behind perceived the stratagem, and then they were 
attacked by Duncan and his men who lay in ambush, 
and put to flight." 

Apparently John, after his feud with the Colquhouns, 
went to war with the Buchanans, for we read that in 
16 19, John Darleith, with many Colquhouns, 
Drummonds, Lindsay of BalHol, Bunten of Ardoch, 
Galloway in Kilmaronock, and others, assisted the 
MacFarlanes in their feud with the Buchanans. This 
may have been an outcome of the divorcing of his un- 
faithful wife of that name, but as that event occurred 
some 27 years previously it does not seem likely except 
that Highland revenges were long nursed, waiting 

On the 28th February, 1622, John MacFarlane of 
Arrochar, with consent of Walter MacFarlane, his son 
and heir- apparent, for certain sums of money paid to 
him, sold to Andrew MacFarlane, lawful son of Andrew 
M'Coull MacFarlane, Blairvyok, without reversion, 
and confirmed to him, the lands of Gortane, in the 
lordship and barony of Luss, parish of Roseneath, and 
shire of Dumbarton, to be held of the granter and his 
heirs- male. 

John, as we have said, is stated to have been a 
gentleman of great piety. "He built an almshouse at 
Bruitford on the mainland opposite to his castle on the 
island called Eilean-a-vow, for the reception of poor 

io6 History of Clan MacFarlane 

passengers who might happen to require shelter in 
visiting or passing through the district. This he 
endowed with competent revenues to provide the 
travellers with all necessities and accommodation. On 
the front of the almshouse was handsomely cut in stone 
his armorial bearings, with party per pale, baron and 
femme, three mullets being the arms of Margaret 
Murray, his fourth wife. 

" The almshouse referred to no longer exists, although 
at a place opposite Eilean-a-vow, on the mainland, the 
wall tracks of a house can yet be traced. The spot is 
called Croit a' phuirt, generally pronounced Crutyforst 
or Crutafoorst. It means the croft of the landing, or 
where persons embark and disembark from a small 

In 1624, which may have been in John's time (he is 
said to have died towards the end of the reign of 
James VI., 1625), or that of his successor, many of the 
clan were tried and convicted of theft and robbery. 
Some were pardoned and a number were removed to 
the uplands of Aberdeenshire, and to Strathaven in 
Banffshire, where they assumed the names of Stewart, 
M'Condy, Greisck, Maclnnes, Mac James, etc. 

Macfarlane-Buchanan Vendetta. 

One of those crimes which may have been an incident 
of the Buchanan feud already referred to is detailed in 
the records of the Court of Session of June 6th, 1623, 
under the title of, " Slauchter of Duncane MacFarlane 
by Buchanans." The young laird of MacFarlane 
referred to, we judge to have been Walter, John's 
eldest son and the next Chief. Shorn, as far as possible, 
of its archaic language, the record runs as follows : — 

" The same day anent the accusation at the instance 
of Robert and Thomas MacFarlane as brothers to the 
late Duncan MacFarlane, son to the late Andrew 
MacFarlane of Bunessan, charging George Buchanan 
of Gartincaber, John Buchanan, his son ; Patrick 

John — ^Fifteenth Chief 107 

Buchanan, son of George Buchanan of Auchmar ; 
John Beg Buchanan of BalKndewar, John Buchanan, 
his son ; Thomas Buchanan of Drougie and Archibald 
Buchanan, his brother, to appear personally this day 
and place to underly the law before His Majesty's 
Justice for art and part in the slaughter of the said 
Duncan MacFarlane, committed upon the sixth day of 
April, 1622, within the toune of Kippienoche in 
Drummond in the Lennox, in the form and manner 
specified in the said accusation. Appearing personally 
the said Robert MacFarlane as brother with the young 
laird of MacFarlane, and Mr. David Primrose, Advocate 
as Prelor for them — and Sir William Oliphant of 
Newtoun, Knight Advocate to our sovereign Lord for 
his hienes intreis — and producing the said criminal 
charge duly executed and undersate upon all the 
defendants above stated and offer themselves ready to 
pursue, etc. — ^Together with Mr. Robert Nairn, 
Advocate, his Prelocutor, who produced a warrant 
and command to the Justice regarding the con- 
tinuation of this diet to the 13th day of June, directed 
by the Lords of the Secret Council and subscribed by 
my Lord Chancellor of the date the 5th day of June, 
proceeding upon a supplication, etc., of the which 
supplication and warrant upon the back thereof the 
tenour is as follows : — 

' My Lords of Secret Council, unto your Lord- 
ships we, your humble servants, discover and show 
(names of Buchanans again detailed) that while 
the 6th of June is appointed unto us for our 
appearance before the Justice to underly the law 
for the slaughter of the late Duncan MacFarlane, 
son to the late Andrew Moir MacFarlane in 
Kypnoche when the Justice intends to proceed 
against us in the said matter, but were your 
Lordships acquainted of a verity of the certain 
truth of this business, how and upon what occasion 
the slaughter fell out and what occasions of wrath 

io8 History of Clan MacFarlane 

and displeasure was given us therein we are 
persuaded that your Lordships in honour and 
justice would not think this prosecution to merit 
any favour. 

' The truth is that the said deceased Andrew 
Moir MacFarlane during the whole course of his 
unhappy life was known to be a notorious thief 
and villain. Having stolen some goods froni 
certain of his Majesty's good subjects in the 
Lennox, some four or five years since or thereby, 
and the said late William Buchanan, out of his 
true hatred and detestation of such thieving doings, 
having made some inquiries and having taken 
pains and trouble to find the goods, in the end 
traced them to have been stolen by the said late 
Andrew Moir MacFarlane, who by course of j ustice 
was compelled to make restitution. For this 
Andrew Moir MacFarlane conceived a deadly 
hatred and mahce against the said deceased 
William Buchanan and resolved out of the pride 
and malice of his wicked heart to be revenged upon 
him after the most detestable and cruel manner 
that the heart of him could devise. Knowing that 
the gentleman was accustomed at times for his 
recreation and pastime to hunt on the moor above 
the Ducher, he chose that occasion to do his turns. 
Accompanied by his two sons and seven or eight 
utterly lawless villains, MacFarlane lay in wait for 
the gentleman. Buchanan came about eight 
o'clock in the morning without any company but 
four sporting dogs. The MacFarlanes seized him 
and bound him so that he could not stir. 

" Having consulted together after what form 
and manner they should dispatch him, in the end 
they resolved that his presumption and malapert- 
ness in discovering the goods deserved an extra- 
ordinary and unaccustomed death by torture which 
they made him undergo, during the space of ten 
hours, in the following manner : — 

John — Fifteenth Chief 109 

' They bound him fast to a tree at the said hour 
of eight in the morning and every hour thereafter 
until six at night, making ten hours, they gave him 
three cruel stabs with a dirk in such parts of his 
body where the wounds would not be fatal. 
Having mangled him in this way with thirty 
strokes until the full number of ten hours was 
outrun they then gave the last deadly blow at the 
heart when he fell dead to the ground. Having 
stripped him naked, because his tongue was the 
instrument whereby as they alleged he had 
offended in enquiring out the hiding places of the 
goods, they cut his throat, took his tongue out of 
his head, slew his four dogs, cutting one of their 
tongues out and putting it in the gentleman's 
mouth and put his tongue in the dog's mouth. 
Not content with this atrocity, but the further to 
satisfy their inhuman and barbarous cruelty upon 
the naked corpse, they slit open his belly, took out 
his entrails and put them into one of the dogs and 
put the dogs entrails into the gentleman's body. 
So they left him lying naked and the four dogs 
about him. It was eight days ere he was found. 
For this detestable butchery and murder these 
villains being called to their trial before His 
Majesty's Justice they, ' took the crime upon them 
and passed to the home,' where the said Andrew 
Moir remained to the hour of his death and the 
rest of his accomplices still remain. Against them 
your Lordship passed an ample commission for the 
pursuit of them with fire and sword. 

' Where this detestable and more than barbarous 
murder should have bred in the heart and con- 
science of this villain some remorse and feeling for 
this sin and an abstinence and forbearance from 
all further impiety, yet the said Andrew continued 
in his accustomed trade of theft, reif and oppression 
and never could be reclaimed therefrom till the 

no History of Clan MacFarlane 

hour of his death. In his last theft, a little before 
his death, he stole an ox from me, the said George 
Buchanan, and carried the same to a house where 
he and his wife were accustomed to receive stolen 
goods. As soon as we learned of the theft of the 
ox we followed the trail, directly, towards the said 
house, and sent for the officer of the Earl of Perth 
to assist us in searching the houses thereabouts. 
The villain and his son being in the house before 
mentioned, began to fear capture. They there- 
upon disguised themselves in women's clothing 
and tried to escape without being perceived. We, 
thinking they kept not the ordinary pace of 
women and yet noways suspecting that they were 
the villains we sought, followed softly to observe 
which way they took. 

' The said Duncan MacFarlane, looking over 
his shoulder and seeing that we followed him, 
turned and pointed a long hacquebut at us. He 
fired, but by the providence of God the gun 
misgave. With that he and his father drew their 
swords and drove in upon us with all their force. 
Before we could defend ourselves they gave me, 
the said George Buchanan, a deadly stroke and I 
fell senseless to the ground. The rest of my 
company thought I was a dead man. They 
wounded three others of us. Unable any longer to 
restrain ourselves, we took to our just and lawful 
defence, when the unhappy villain was justly 
slain, and his son, who unfortunately was in com- 
pany with him and who made the first onset with 
his hacquebut, ere ever we knew who he was, was 
likewise killed. 

' The father was killed for the murder aforesaid 
and he and his whole family are the most notorious 
villains of that clan. However it may be charged 
on the part of the young man that he was not 
accessory to the murder aforesaid and that he 

John — Fifteenth Chief hi 

should not be punished for his father's deed, it is 
the truth that continually since the father was 
declared a rebel for the murder aforesaid the said 
Duncan and his son remained and attended upon 
him, was art and part with him in all his thieving 
and wicked deeds, and assisted and took part with 
his father against us in our just and lawful defence, 
was slain, at whose hykewalk that night the ox 
aforesaid, stolen by the father and the son was 
slain and eaten. 

' This being the true and simple statement of 
all that has passed in this business we humbly 
present the same to your Lordships consideration 
whereby your Lordships may perceive how 
' misshantlie ' and barbarously the innocent and 
harmless gentleman was murdered and slain and 
what was the ground and occasion of the sub- 
sequent slaughters. 

' Since there is great likelihood of disorder 
arising to the disturbance and breaking of the 
peace of the country with the Clan MacFarlane 
going about their private revenge and our friends, 
on their part, being careful of their own defence, 
we humbly beseech your Lordships to take such 
course and order concerning this matter as your 
Lordships shall think most fit for the peace of the 
country, etc. 

' Apud Halirnidhous, 6th June, 1623.' " 
" The Lords ordain and command the Justice to 
continue the diet, within written, to the 13th day of 
June, and ordain their petitioners to make offers to the 
party and to present the offer to the young laird of 
MacFarlane if he be in the town, and to the special 
friends attending this diet whom the said Lords ordain 
to remain in Edinburgh until some decision be taken 
for settling the matter within written and for the peace 
and quietness of the country, etc." 

112 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Walter — i6th Chief. 
1624- 1664. 

Dukes of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

LuDovic, 2nd Duke. James VI., 1567-1625. 

EsME, 3rd Duke. . Charles I., 1625-1649. 

James, 4th Duke. The Commonwealth, 1649-1660. 

Charles II., 1660-1685. 

YVTALTER, the son of John, was a Cavaher, loyally 
W devoted to the cause of the Stuarts. He 
suffered greatly for his attachment to Charles I., 
but no losses could shake his fidelity to his party. He 
was with "The Great Marquis" of Montrose in his 
hurricane campaign of 1644-45, and the wild pibroch 
of the Clan, " Thogail nam Bo " inspired the RoyaHsts 
in many a Highland battle. 

For joining the standard of Montrose, Walter was 
fined 3,000 merks Scots, but throughout the Common- 
wealth he remained an irreconcilable king's man. 
In Cromwell's time, he was twice besieged in his house, 
and his castle of Inveruglas was afterwards burned 
down by the English. In the burning of Inveruglas, 
several of the ancient writs of the family were consumed. 

Walter married Margaret, a daughter of Sir James 
Semple of Beltrees, Renfrewshire, one of the gentlemen 
of the bedchamber to James VI., and who was Scottish 
Ambassador to the Court of England, in 1599. They 
had two sons and one daughter, John, who succeeded 
as 17th Chief, Andrew of Ardess, who succeeded as 
i8th Chief, and Giles who married Adam Colquhoun of 
Glens. Walter died in 1664. 

The story of the " Burning of MacFarlane's Forest " 

Walter — Sixteenth Chief 113 

occurred in Walter's time. From the date, 1640, this 
devoted RoyaHst was obviously the chief concerned, 
and the act of heroism is quite in accordance with his 
reputed character. The forest in question extended 
from Loch Lomond to Ben Laoigh. Twenty-five miles 
round, it was the favourite hunting ground of the Chiefs 
of MacFarlane. 

The following is taken from Sir F. Dick Lander's 
" Wanderings in the Highlands." This narrative has 
been abridged from some fifty pages or more, and is 
taken from a letter written by William Charles 
MacFarlane of the Kenmore or Muckroy family in 
1837 to his brother, Captain James Duncan MacFarlane. 
W. C. MacFarlane was then at St. Edmund's Hall, 

The Burning of the Forest. 

" One fair evening as the Laird was musing most 
enjoyably upon the hill looking upon Arroquar, Loch 
Long, and a fair forest extending some 25 miles, his 
attention was drawn to one Angus MacFarlane, head 
shepherd to the Laird, and the fair Ellen whom Angus 
was about to marry. She was weeping. The Laird, 
who ever wished to be the father of his people, enquired 
the cause of her grief ; she told him that it arose from 
a vision she had seen the previous evening, of the 
forest aU burning, and by the dim glare had distinctly 
seen the figure of the Laird bearing on his shoulders 
the dead body of her beloved Angus. 

" Now it happened that this evening Angus had 
left the castle to come and see his own dearie, Ellen. 
They had not long retired to rest when tidings were 
brought that the cattle were harried. Angus im- 
mediately suspected the Lochaber men of having 
committed this depredation, nor was he mistaken. 

" As swift as an eagle, he pursued them and tracked 
them into the thickest fastnesses of the forest, and sent 
tidings to the Laird, who instantly ordered the 
Gathering to be played. ' Loch Sloy — Loch Sloy ' 


114 History of Clan MacFarlane 

sounded on all sides, and his followers were soon about 
him, and meeting Angus's messengers on the way, they 
soon reached the spot where Angus was on the look out. 
Seeing a figure move, the henchman was on the point 
of firing, when MacFarlane held his hand and in an 
undertone challenged the person as follows : — 

" ' Where grew your bow and how is it drawn ? ' 

" * It grew in the Isles of Loch Lomond, and is 
drawn for Loch Sloy,' was the reply of the well known 
voice of Angus. 

" The Laird, who was a very brave and cautious 
leader, and showed on the occasion his fitness for the 
command of such a gallant band, gave such orders that 
the hovel where the Lochaber men were resting, was 
surrounded. Four of the bravest and most active 
young men were sent forward to give timely intimation 
of any movement of the enemy. 

" On one occasion Angus was seen to draw his bow 
in the direction of the Laird. He was instantly felled 
by his too zealous kinsfolk on suspicion of treason, but 
his quick eye had descried within a few paces of the 
Laird a Lochaber man with his dirk drawn and ready 
to plunge into the bosom of his Chief. The Lochaber 
man fell at the Laird's feet, and Angus had thus the 
satisfaction of saving his hfe. He was only stunned 
by the blow and soon recovered. 

" In the meantime the cattle recognised them and set 
up a tremendous bellowing with wonted sounds on 
such occasions. This roused the Lochaber men, but 
seeing nothing, they were soon lulled into repose. 
When all was again quiet, the MacFarlanes advanced, 
and the Laird gave the signal of attack by shooting 
the sentinel who leapt into the air and fell weltering 
in his blood. The attack began on all sides, and the 
MacFarlanes soon repulsed the ingrates who barricaded 
the door, and thus offered a temporary resistance. 
The laird, forgetful of old Marjory's vision, seized a 
burning faggot and set fire to the hovel, and the poor 

Walter — Sixteenth Chief 115 

Lochaber men were soon burned to death. The Laird 
reflected that he might have shown mercy, but it was 
too late. 

" A violent hurricane arose at the same time, and 
the flames soon communicated to the adjoining forest. 
The poor cattle alone burst through the flames and 
escaped destruction. The MacFarlanes were sur- 
rounded on all sides, and were obUged to lie down in a 
pool of water to preserve themselves from being burnt. 
They were soon obliged to quit this place of refuge, 
and were scattered in all directions. The Laird, 
accompanied by the faithful Angus, pursued their way 
for some time, till at length the Laird was knocked 
down by a falling brand and swooned away. 

" When he came to himself he saw poor Angus lying 
under a great tree which had fallen on him. He cut 
away with his broadsword the intervening trunk and 
at last succeeded in extricating his lifeless body. The 
Laird had no time for consideration, but putting the 
body on his shoulders, bore him away into that 
mournful soHtude. He had not proceeded far when he 
met the distracted Ellen who on seeing the body of her 
future husband, fell down and expired at his feet. 
The Laird hesitated a moment whether he should leave 
the bodies where they were to be burnt to ashes, or 
carrying them on his shoulders, expose himself, 
already sinking from fatigue, to the devouring element 
which was fast approaching him. He nobly chose the 
latter, and placing one corpse on each shoulder, 
trudged on. At length, almost exhausted, he fell in 
with a party of his followers, who relieved him of his 
burden, and soon after they reached a place of safety. 

" What a mournful gathering was that to behold ! 
Nothing but flames extending as far as the eye could 
reach. The very deer coming for refuge, and seeking 
for protection from man. 

" Thus was the vision of old Marjory fully and dread- 
fully realised." 

ii6 History of Clan MacFarlane 

MacFarlane, as we have said, was a faithful follower 
of the great Montrose, and the Clan formed the van- 
guard of his forces, which penetrated through the 
mountains amid snowdrifts to the music of "Thogail 
nam Bo," and fell upon the army of Argyle at 
Inverlochy, inflicting upon it a severe defeat, in 1645. 

A large number of MacFarlanes seem to have 
adopted the Grahams of Montrose as their Chief, and 
to have settled in the parish of Buchanan, in StirUng- 
shire. In an island of Loch Lomond (Inchcaillioch) 
there is a joint burying place of the Grahams and 

That Walter was like his fathers, a prominent 
Scottish churchman, is shown by the following incident, 
which speaks for itself. 

For marrying Sir John Colquhoun, i6th of Luss, to 
Margaret BailHe \vithout due proclamation of banns, 
and other irregularities, Mr. McLauchlan the minister 
at Luss was deposed from the office of the Holy 
ministry. This was on 26th December, 1648. On 
23rd January, 1649, the Covenant was renewed in the 
Parish Church of Luss. The following is the extract 
from the minutes of the Presbytery of Dumbarton : — 

" Concerning the vacant church of Luss, and 
renewing of the Covenant there, IMr. David Elphinstone, 
Mr. Archd. McLean, and Mr. John Stewart are 
appointed to repair to the said kirk on Wednesday 
come eightdays for keeping of the Fast, and the said 
Mr. David to preach before noon, and Mr. Archd, 
McLean, afternoon, in the Irish language and betwixt 
the sermons the said, Mr. David and Mr. John Stewart 
are to go on, on the trial of the parish, conform to 
order, and Mr. John Stewart to read the solemn 
engagement and Covenant after the first sermon, and 
Mr. Archd. McLean to renew the Covenant on the 
Sabbath thereafter, and GilHsh McArthur, Clerk to the 
Session, is ordained to have the parishioners duly 
advised to keep the Fast at the said kirk, and especially 

Walter — Sixteenth Chief 117 

to advise the Laird of MacFarlane to have his people of 
the Arrochar present, and the said Mr. David to 
intimate the vacancy of the place." 

The itaUcs are ours. 

We regret we have been unable to find any particulars 
of the campaign of the Commonwealth troops in the 
Arrochar country, with the twice besieging of Walter 
in his house, which may have been at Tarbert or the 
castle on Eilean-a-vow, and the burning of Inveruglas, 
but certain inferences may be drawn from the following 
extracts from the Colquhoun chronicles : — 

" At the beginning of 1654 Ross Dhu was defended by 
John Dennistoun of Colgrain (Dennistoun M.S.) who 
had obtained from Wm. Earl of Glencaim, Commander- 
in-Chief of the Royalist troops in Scotland, com- 
missions in November and December, 1653. But when 
Dennistoun marched northward from Rossdhu with 
the Lennox Fencibles, the castle fell into the hands of a 
party of Cromwell's soldiers from Glasgow, under the 
command of Lt.-Col. Cottrell. It was recovered soon 
afterwards by the royaHsts, under the command of the 
Laird of MacNaughton and the eldest son of Sir George 
Maxwell of Newark. They were again forced to 
abandon it by a troop of Cromwell's horse under 
Colonel Cooper. 

" In the same year General Middleton, after having 
been appointed by Charles the Second on the resigna- 
tion of the Earl of Glencairn, General and Commander- 
in-Chief of the royalist forces in Scotland, visited 
Rossdhu when proceeding with the main body of the 
army, which was then in Sutherland, through the 
Highlands southward for the purpose of strengthening 
it by new recruits. His army was refreshed at Ross Dhu 
and increased in number, but, notwithstanding, he 
was defeated by Cromwell's troops at Lochnair, on 
the 26th of July, following. Cromwell's Act of Grace 
to the people of Scotland was granted in this year." 

ii8 History of Clan MacFarlane 


John — 17TH Chief. 
1664- 1679. 

Dukes of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Charles, 5th Duke. Charles II., 1660-1685. 

Frances, His Duchess. 

JOHN married Grizel, daughter of Sir Colin Lamond 
of that Ilk. Her mother was Beatrice, a daughter 
of Lord Sample. If Sir James Semple, whose 
daughter was John's mother, and this Lord Semple are 
the same, then John married his cousin on the distaff 
side. The pair had no son, but three daughters, Jean 
married to John Buchanan of Lenie, in 1666, Giles, 
whose husband was Alexander M' Mill an of Dunmore, 
in 1667, and Grizel, who married Archibald Buchanan 
of Torie, in 1673. 

On the death of Grizel, John married Anne, a 
daughter of CampbeU of Duntroon, who was the widow 
of " The Captain of Carrick," By her also he had 
three daughters, who all married. 

The above dates rather indicate that John lived 
later than the Battle of Bothwell Bridge (1679). 
The Clan of MacFarlane formed a detachment of 
the Duke of Monmouth's army, and it is stated were 
amongst the first in storming the gateway through 
which the guards charged. 

Sir Walter Scott in "Old Mortality" quotes the 
incident : — 

" The defence made by the Covenanters was so 


% rM': 




i; 3 

3 ^2; 

■5 ^ 

John — Seventeenth Chief 119 

protracted, and obstinate, that the royal generals 
began to fear that it might be successful. While 
Monmouth threw himself from his horse and ralljdng 
the Foot Guards, brought them on to another close 
and desperate attack, he was warmly seconded by 
General Thomas Dalziel, who, putting himself at the 
head of a body of Lennox Highlanders, rushed forward 
with their tremendous war cry ' Loch Sloy ! ' This 
was the slogan or war cry of the MacFarlanes, taken 
from a lake near the head of Loch Lomond, in the 
centre of their ancient possessions on the western banks 
of that beautiful inland sea." 

As John had no son, he was succeeded by his brother 
Andrew of Ardess (near Rowardennan) . This is the 
first occasion upon which the succession of Chiefs was 
other than from father to son over a period of four 
hundred and fifty years. 

The first proposal for Arrochar becoming a 
separate parish, with its own church and glebe, was 
made in 1648. This was in the time of Walter, i6th 
Chief, who made the suggestion, but as John dealt 
A^ith the matter and signed the engagement, we have 
included the reference here. 

From the great extent of the parish of Luss, it had 
long been considered desirable that the lands of 
Arrochar, which were the most northerly part of it, 
should be separated and formed into a distinct parish. 
The Presbytery of Dumbarton brought the matter 
before the Council of Estate in Scotland, and on a 
petition and recommendation from the Presbytery, 
by an order dated Holyrood House, 24th December, 
1658, appointed Robert Hamilton of Barnes and others 
to be their Commissioners, to call before them all 
parties interested in the dismembering of the lands of 
Arrochar from the parish of Luss, and in the erection 
of a new church at Tar bet, with a manse and the 
provision of a glebe for the minister, and if they found 
a general concurrence, that all parties concerned should 

120 History of Clan MacFarlane 

forthwith proceed to the building of a church and 
manse and to the providing of a glebe, conformably to 
the Act of ParHament. To this proposal Sir John 
Colquhoun had always been favourable, and he had 
frequently expressed his readiness to concur in the 
furtherance of so good a work. To carry out the views 
of the Presbytery of Dumbarton and the Government, 
he, on 25th January, 1659, subscribed a bond to denude 
himself of the sum of 400 merks yearly, payable by the 
Laird of MacFarlane for the tithes of his lands of 
Arrochar and 15 bolls teind meal, payable forth of the 
lands in Arrochar (Stuckgown) belonging to Walter 
MacFarlane of Gartartan, in favour of the minister of 
Tarbet and his successors in all time coming, and to be 
upUfted by the hrst minister after his entry to the 
ministry at Tarbet. 

John MacFarlane, fiar of Arrochar, is stated also to 
have been favourable to the division of the parish of 
Luss, and granted a bond also dated 25th January, 
1659, binding himself to cause, begin, finish and perfect 
the building of a new kirk with a manse for the 
minister of Tarbet, and also to give and mortify a 
competent glebe, under the pain of 3,000 merks Scots, 
to be uplifted by the Presbytery of Dumbarton and 
employed by them for pious uses, within the said lands 
of Arrochar, " seriously entreating the said Com- 
missioners and all parties concerned forthwith to 
proceed in all points, conform to the said order " of the 
Council of Estate in Scotland. From Fraser we take 
the following, in this connection : 

"Not only was the church (at Luss) inadequate for 
the population, but it was extremely inconvenient for 
the parishioners in the bounds of Arrochar, in its 
northern part, who, from their distance, could not 
attend the church, especially during the winter months. 
It was therefore lelt to be very desirable to form these 
lands into a separate parish. In 1648, the matter 
was brought under the consideration of the Presbj^tery 

John — Seventeenth Chief 

of Dumbarton by MacFarlane, the Laird of Arrochar, 
who, being the only heritor within the lands to be 
disjoined, with the exception of MacFarlane of Gar- 
tartan, offered to defray the expenses of building a 
church and manse, and to provide a glebe for the new 

" In 1649, ^^^ ^^^ parish was perambulated by the 
Presbytery, who selected the site of the church at 
West Tarbet. But for many years after this nothing 
practical was done. At the end of the year 1658, the 
Presbytery laid the case before the Council of Estate in 
Scotland, who, in compUance with the request of the 
Presbytery, appointed commissioners to summon 
before them, and to hear parties interested in the 
disj unction of the lands of Arrochar from the parish of 
Luss, and in the erection of a new church at Tarbet, with 
a manse, and the provision of a glebe for the minister. 
Favourable to the object proposed. Sir John Colquhoun 
of Luss, by a bond dated 25th January, 1659, became 
bound to denude himself of the tithes of the lands of 
Arrochar, and John MacFarlane, fiar of Arrochar, 
bound himself, by a bond of the same date, to erect a 
church and manse, and to provide a competent glebe. 
But these arrangements were not yet brought to a 
practical issue. In 1676, another perambulation of 
the new parish, by the Presbytery of Dumbarton, took 
place. The following is the minute of Presbytery 
narrating this perambulation : — 

" Presbytery Dumbarton at Tarbet, 
September 10, 1678. 

" Sederunt — Moderator, Messrs. WilHam Andersone, 
Arthur Miller, Thomas Allan, James Buchanan, 
WiUiam M'Kechnie. 

" The brethren foresaid, having met at Lusse, and 
travelled al the way from thence to Tarbet, and seen 
the bounds to the end of Lochlomond, northward, 
sixteen miles distant from the Kirk of Lusse on the one 

History of Clan MacFarlane 

side, and from Tarbet to the side of Lochlong on the 
other side, and seen the bounds to the head of Lochlong, 
lying likewise at a great distance from the Kirk of 
Lusse, and haveing considered the vastnesse of the 
distance, as said is, and ruggedness of the way, finde it 
absolutely necessarie that there be a dismembratione, 
and a church built at the Tarbet, within the Laird of 
MacFarlane's land, for the accommodatione of the 
people of these bounds, that the people from the foot 
of Glendowglasse, and upward upon the side of 
Lochlomond, and from Gorton in the paroch of Row, 
to the head of Lochlonge (informed to be about the 
number of 400 souls,) may repaire thither to attend the 
ordinances, who are now living in ignorance." 

The Rev. H. S. Winchester, we think, has grasped 
the human aspect of the matter when he writes : 

" The MacFarlanes continued to look upon the 
erection of a separate parish as a new and unnecessary 
intrusion, and the building of a new church as a 
needless expense. Luss was their church, the church 
of their fathers. True, it was ten miles from Arrochar 
and situated, now, within the lands of their enemies, 
but it was near enough and convenient enough for all 
practical purposes ; for to tell the truth the Mac- 
Farlanes seemed to have little use for a church except 
for purposes of burial. And so, while the Presbytery 
set the ecclesiastical machinery in order, and put in a 
minister, and while John MacFarlane had perforce to 
pay the stipend, he paid little heed to his promise to 
provide a church and manse." 

In the year 1679 a threat by the MacDonalds to 
invade the Western Highlands was apparently to be 
met by a combined force at the gateway to the 
Highlands, Tarbet Glen. A number of men were 
despatched from the territory of Luss, at the expense 
of Sir James Colquhoun, to the head of Loch Long. 
This we learn from an account of the intromissions of 
John Colquhoun, younger, of Camstradden, with the 

John — Seventeenth Chief 123 

Laird of Luss's rents of the barony of Luss for that 
year, which contain the following entries : — 
" Item, to allow to the compter his 

expenses in going with a number 

of men to the head of Loch Long 

to protect the country, the time of 

the MacDonalds, at the Laird's Lib. s. d. 

special command, .... 040 00 o 
" Item, paid to John Colquhoun, officer 

at the Laird's command for his 

own and two men's charges at the 

head of Loch Long, 10 days' time, 

keeping the country," - - - 010 00 
As early as 1679 the further encroachment of 
Colquhoun into the northern Lennox was proceeding, 
for we find on the nth of March of that year Sir James 
Colquhoun, the i8th of Colquhoun and 20th of Luss 
(it was the marriage of a Colquhoun with " the 
Heiress of Luss," of the old Lennox stock that brought 
the Colquhouns from Kilpatrick to Rossdhu), obtained 
a gift of the ward and non-entries of the lands which 
belonged to his deceased father, from the Commissioners 
of Frances, Duchess of Lennox, widow of the late 
Charles, Duke of Lennox. These included Drumfad, 
TulHchintaull and Finart, the first two be it noted the 
former lands of the implacable Dougal MacDouill Vic 
Neil MacFarlane, whose father was slain by Sir 
Humphrey Colquhoun. 

124 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Andrew — i8th Chief. 

Earl of Lennox. Scottish Rulers. 

Frances, Duchess of Lennox. Charles II., 1660-1685. 

James VII.. 1685-1688. 

ANDREW of Ardess declared his coat-of-arms in 
1672 (Heraldry Office, Edinburgh). This was 
previous to his accession to the Chieftainship of 
the Clan. 

His first wife was Ehzabeth, daughter of John 
Buchanan of Ross and Drumakill, by whom he had two 
sons, John his heir, and Walter, who died unmarried. 

By his second wife, Jean, daughter of Campbell of 
Strachan, he had five sons, Andrew, William, Duncan, 
Archibald, and another Walter. Andrew, WilHam, 
Archibald, and Walter were all officers in the British 
Army, the first named being a major. He, Archibald, 
and Walter were all killed in the battle of Malplaquet, 
September nth, 1709, in the reign of Queen Anne. 
William married a daughter of Govan of Buchapel 
without surviving issue. Duncan, described as a 
Captain, married a French lady by whom he had two 
sons. Major James, who married Jean, daughter of 
Sir Alexander Forbes of Foveran, and Duncan, who 
went to Jamaica and was alive in 1764. In a letter 
written by Duncan MacFarlane of Muckroy to his 
father, Alexander, second son of James the first Laird 
of Muckroy, from Edinburgh, where Duncan was a 
merchant, he says, "There is just now in town a 
cousin of the Laird of MacFarlane, son to Captain 



Andrew succeeded to Chieftainship of Clan MacFarlane in 1679, and apparently 
retained his own variation of the Arms ; a sword in the right hand of the 
demi-savage in place of a sheaf of arrows, as in the original device. 

Andrew — Eighteenth Chief 125 

Duncan, come from Jamaica. He goes back again in 
Spring." This letter is dated November 23rd, 1764. 

Captain Duncan's issue died out, unless the subject 
of this letter left a family of which in that case the 
present male representative would appear to be the 
chief of MacFarlane. The descendants of Andrew of 
Ardess are of first importance in any consideration 
of the lineal descent. As we have stated, 
Andrew had seven sons. The eldest, John, 
succeeded his father and his line (the main stem) has 
died out. Walter, the second son, died young. Major 
Andrew fell at Malplaquet and did not marry. The 
fourth son, William, also an officer in the army, married 
but left no surviving issue. Captain Duncan the 
fifth son had two sons, Captain James and Duncan, 
but we do not know, as stated above, whether his son 
Duncan, who was alive in 1764, left a family. Failing 
male descendants of Duncan there remains only the two 
youngest sons of Andrew of Ardess, Archibald and 
Walter, They also were kiUed at the battle of 
Malplaquet. We do not know if either of them 
married and had children, but we have the fact that 
Malcolm, the progenitor of the Hunston House family, 
in Ireland, is claimed to be a nephew of their eldest 
brother, John, the 19th Chief. 

126 History of Clan MacFarlane 


John — iqth Chief. 

Scottish Rulers. 
James VII., 1685-1688. 

William and Mary, 1689-1694. 
William, i 689-1 702. 

Anne, 1702-1714. 

JOHN was chief for about twenty years. In the 
reign of James VH. he was in command of 400 
of his own men who were ordered to the shire of 
Renfrew to keep the peace in that county, but dishking 
the conditions of the times, he soon retired and could 
never afterwards be prevailed upon to undertake such 
a mission. With the landing of the Prince of Orange 
he espoused the cause of William and Mary, so that the 
clansmen who fought on the side of Claverhouse at 
Bothwell Bridge were now opposed to the dashing 
Marquis of Dundee. 

When the Convention of the Estates sitting at 
Edinburgh were alarmed by the news of Dundee 
being in arms, John (1688) offered to raise a regiment 
of his own men to assist the Government. The 
campaign, however, coming to an abrupt close with 
the death of Claverhouse at the battle of KiUiecrankie, 
the need for MacFarlane's force disappeared. The 
Chief was afterwards appointed Colonel of a regiment 
of foot. This would be in 1689 or 1690. 

John married twice. His first wife was Agnes, 
daughter of Sir Hugh Wallace of Woolmot. Their 
only son. Andrew, died young. 

John — Nineteenth Chief 127 

John's second wife was Helen, daughter of Robert, 
second Viscount Arbuthnot. They had four sons and 
one daughter, Walter, who succeeded as 20th Chief, 
Robert, who died young, William, who succeeded as 
2 1st Chief, Alexander, and Catherine who died young. 

The youngest son, Alexander, entered trade as a 
merchant, and settled ultimately in Jamaica. There 
he acquired a considerable fortune. He left a large 
estate called Large Island, in Jamaica, to his brothers, 
and died unmarried, in August, 1755. His position 
in the island community will be understood when we 
mention that he was one of the assistant judges and a 
member of the legislative assembly. He was one of 
the best mathematicians of the age, and a Fellow of 
the Royal Society. By his will he left to the University 
of Glasgow, where he was educated, his valuable 
apparatus of astronomical instruments ; and the 
Observatory, which was shortly after erected by the 
University on Dovehill, was, as a tribute of honour to 
his memory for this benefaction, named the MacFarlane 
Observatory. His property was inherited by his two 
brothers, Walter of Arrochar and Wilham, who 
practised as a physician in Edinburgh. 

Robert MacFarlane of Brooklyn, whom we have 
previously quoted, writes of Alexander : — 

"It is a fact that the MacFarlanes were of an 
astronomical turn of mind, and, indirectly this led to 
the greatest mechanical invention of modern times. 
Alexander MacFarlane bequeathed all his instruments 
to the University of Glasgow, and James Watt was sent 
for, to repair and fit up these instruments in the 
MacFarlane Observatory. While thus engaged he 
invented the improved steam-engine with the separate 
condenser. Watt was a relative of the MacFarlanes, 
and in his life, by Muirhead, is the following expression 
about Alexander MacFarlane, ' He carried out one of 
the mottoes of his family ; the Lord my light ; the 
stars my camp.' " 

128 History of Clan MacFarlane 

In 1697 John built himself a new house at Inverioch, 
near Tarbet (Arrochar village) ; a portion of this still 
stands forming the rear portion of the present house, 
and the commemorative stone retains an honourable 
place over l^he portal of the present Arrochar House. 
This stone bears the date 1697, the figures separated by 
an engraved Scots thistle. Underneath is carved 
this inscription : — 

"Thugadh a chlach so bho ard dorus an aitreamh: 



A free translation of this Gaelic is the following : — 
" This stone was taken from the main entrance of the 
house built by John, Chief of the MacFarlanes and 
Laird of Arrochar, in the year inscribed upon it." 

The Hunston House MacFarlanes possess a painting 
of which the old house is the subject. 

John died, 13th May, 1705, and during his lifetime 
apparently he had building enough on his hands 
without troubling about his obligations in regard to 
the church and manse for the minister. For there had 
been a minister ever since 1658, the Rev. Archibald 
MacLachlan, but he demitted his charge in 1701, on 
the grounds of " infirmities of body and various 
secular discouragements," which last consisted in the 
want of a church, manse and glebe. There was no 
one pining to succeed the Rev. Archibald MacLachlan 
in this barren parish. We dip once more into 
Mr. Winchester's racy narrative for his estimate of the 
situation : — 

" A very interesting sidelight is thrown on these 
times by the records of the Presbytery of Dumbarton, 
and of the Synod of Glasgow. In 1702 the people of 
Arrochar wished to get rid of their minister — the Rev. 
John MacLachlan. Perhaps they had never taken 

t-i cj 
O o 

w ^ 

John — Nineteenth Chief 129 

kindly to a resident minister, and perhaps the Rev. 
John, by his irregular conduct and his neglect of duty, 
afforded them some grounds for their discontent ; at 
anyrate the parishioners brought before the Presbytery 
a Hbel against their minister, and prayed to have him 
removed. But the Presbytery of Dumbarton were 
not willing to deal harshly with an offending brother, 
and so they sought to ease the situation by appointing 
an assistant to help him. Now, the assistant whom 
they chose for this purpose was one Robert MacFarlane, 
one of their own bursars or poor scholars. But 
probably Robert knew too much about Arrochar to be 
willing to fill the place, and he decHned to come. The 
Presbytery insisted, and Robert appealed to the 
Synod. After considering the whole position, the 
Synod determined that Robert MacFarlane must obey 
the call of the Presbytery and take up duty in Arrochar, 
unless he can prove, as he alleges, ' that there is neither 
kirk, nor manse, nor kirk session, nor school in the 

" Robert proved to the satisfaction of the Synod that 
there was none of these things, and while he had to 
take up duty in the parish, he was declared to be 
' transplantable,' and in due course he was trans- 
planted to Fintry (in 1705)." 

We read elsewhere that — 

" In the MacFarlane burying-ground in the church- 
yard of Luss is a tombstone over the grave of Mr. 
Archd. MacLachlan, the first minister of Arrochar, with 
the following inscription : — ' Here lies the corpse of 
Master Archibald MacLachlan, late Minister of the 
Gospel at Tarbet, who departed this life, October, 
173 1, and of his age 94 years.' " 

130 History of Clan MacFarlane 


Walter — ^2oth Chief. 
1705- 1767. 

Scottish Rulers. 
Anne, 1702-1714. 

George I., 1714-1727. 

George II., 1 727-1 760. 
George III., 1760-1820. 

"VVT ALTER MACFARLANE of that Ilk, a man 
\^ of parts, learning, and knowledge, a most 
ingenious antiquary, and by far the best 
genealogist of his time, was possessed," says Sir Robert 
Douglas, " of the most valuable collection of materials 
for a work of this kind (genealogical) of any man in 
the kingdom, which he collected with great judgment, 
and at a considerable expense, and to which we always 
had, and still have, free access. This sufficiently 
appears by the many quotations from MacFarlane's 
collections both in the Peerage and Baronage of 
Scotland. In short, he was a man of great benevolence, 
an agreeable companion, and a sincere friend." 

Skene's testimony to the worth of our great antiquary 
is equally laudatory. 

" He is justly celebrated as an indefatigable collector 
of the ancient records of Scotland. The extensive and 
valuable collections which his industry has been the 
means of preserving form the best monument to his 
memory ; and as long as the existence of the ancient 
records of the country, or a knowledge of its ancient 
history remain an object of interest to any Scotsman, 
the name of MacFarlane will be handed down as one 
of its benefactors." 

Walter — Twentieth Chief 131 

In the Preface to " Geographical Collections relating 
to Scotland," made by Walter MacFarlane, edited from 
MacFarlane's transcript in the Advocates' Library, 
Edinburgh, Sir Arthur Mitchell, K.C.B., M.A., M.D., 
LL.D., writes : — 

" It may be an advantage to repeat here the short 
biographical notices of MacFarlane that Mr. Clark gave 
in the Genealogical Collections. The first notice of 
him is taken from ' The Chiefs of Colquhoun and their 
Country,' Vol. II., pages 99-100, by Sir William 
Eraser, K.C.B., and is as follows : — 

" Walter MacFarlane, one of the most laborious and 
accurate antiquaries of his age, transcribed with his 
own hand many old cartularies and muniments 
deposited in private charter-chests. He was very 
liberal in allowing access to his valuable collections 
and transcripts, which are still consulted and often 
quoted by authors, being regarded as of high authority. 
To his industry we owe the existence of the Levenax 
Cartulary, the original of which is now lost. He 
married Lady Elizabeth Erskine, daughter of Alexander, 
sixth Earl of KelHe. Little is known of his history, 
which appears to have been chiefly that of a student, 
without any remarkable incidents to record. In 
Anderson's Diplomata Scotae, published at Edinburgh 
in the year 1739, the learned editors, Mr. Anderson and 
Mr. Thomas Ruddiman, in an acknowledgment of 
their obligations to those who contributed the original 
charters engraved in that great work, notice in favour- 
able terms the assistance given them by the Laird of 
MacFarlane, ' In this list of most noble and most 
eminent men deserves in particular to be inscribed by 
us a most accomplished young man, Walter MacFarlane 
of that Ilk, Chief of the MacFarlanes, one of the most 
ancient of the clans, who, as he is conspicuous for the 
utmost urbanity, and for his acquaintance with all the 
most elegant and especially the antiquarian depart- 
ments of literature, most readily devoted much labour 

132 History of Clan MacFarlane 

and industry in explaining to us the names of men and 
places.' The eulogium pronounced upon him by 
Smollett is elsewhere quoted. He died, without issue, 
at his town house in the Canongate of Edinburgh, on 
5th June, 1767. After his death his valuable collections 
were purchased by the Faculty of Advocates, Edin- 
burgh. His portrait, an excellent original painting, 
which exhibits a remarkably inteUigent, manly and 
open countenance, occupies a place on the walls of the 
Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, to 
whom it was gifted in 1786, by his nephew, Walter 
MacFarlane. This portrait was engraved by the late 
Mr. W. B. D. D. Turnbull, for the purpose of being 
introduced into his ' Monasticon of Scotland,' a work 
which was never completed." 

The next notice is from the Cash Book of the late 
William MacFarlane of Portsburgh, W.S., who died, 
13th July, 1831, and it runs as follows, under date 

1785 :— 

" He died in his house in the Canongate, Edinburgh, 
on the 5th, and was buried in the Grejrfriars, Edinburgh, 
betwixt the two west pillars of the New Kirk, on the 
8th of June, 1767. He was succeeded by his brother. 
Dr. William MacFarlane, as 21st of Arrochar, who sold 
the estate in March, 1784, after having been 559 years 
in the family." 

The Collection of Manuscripts formed by MacFarlane 
was purchased by the Faculty of Advocates in 1785, 
from his niece. Miss Janet MacFarlane, for the sum of 
{21. It consists of : — 

I.— The Genealogical Collections, 2 vols., edited by 
J. T. Clark and published by the Scottish 
History Society (1900). 
2. — The Geographical Collections, 3 vols., edited by 
Sir Arthur Mitchell and pubHshed by the 
Scottish History Society (1906). 
3. — Collections relative to several Scottish Families, 
2 vols. 

From a portrait in the possession of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh. 

Walter — ^Twentieth Chief 133 

4. — Index to the Register of the Great Seal in 1762, 

5 vols. 
5. — Diplomatum regiorum quae in publicis archivis 

extant Abbreviationes, 10 vols. 
6. — Several volumes of transcripts of Charters, 
including the charters of Melrose, Balmerinoch 
and other reHgious houses. 
7. — Various other transcripts. 

Amongst the yet unpubHshed MSS. there is a 

volume described as " Notes of Genealogies 

of his own Family and the Earls of Lennox " 

(Advocates MS., 34.3.10). 

The reference to Smollett and Walter in the foregoing 

is as follows : — 

" Smollett and his friends, who made a tour into the 
Western Highlands in the eighteenth century, dined 
with Walter MacFarlane, then Laird of Arrochar" 

In " Humphrey Chnker," the celebrated novelist 
introduces one of the correspondents in the novel as 
writing thus : — " I told you, in my last, I had projected 
an excursion to the Highlands, which project I have 
now happily executed, under the auspices of Sir George 
Colquhoun, a colonel in the Dutch Service, who offered 
himself as our conductor on this occasion. Leaving 
our women at Cameron, to the care and inspection of 

Lady H C , we set out on horseback for 

Inveraray, the county town of Argyle, and dined on 
the road with the Laird of MacFarlane, the greatest 
genealogist I ever knew in any country, and perfectly 
acquainted with all the antiquities of Scotland." 
Another correspondent thus writes : — " The poems 
of Ossian are in every mouth. A famous antiquarian 
of this country, the Laird of MacFarlane, at whose 
house we dined a few days ago, can repeat them aU in 
the original gaelic." 

While their Chief practised the higher arts, his clan 
had apparently not reached the same level of advance- 
ment. How Rob Roy fared with them in his effort 

134 History of Clan MacFarlane 

to raise adherents in the Lennox for the rebeUion of 
1715, we have no record, but Mclan states that in 1745, 
the clan mustered 300 men and fought gallantly for 
Prince Charlie. 

Writing from Winburg, Orange River Colony, David 
McFarland writes : — " My family came south with 
Prince CharHe and fought with him. One of my 
ancestors settled in Lancashire when things had 
quietened down." 

As we have seen from the last chapter, John, the 
19th Chief embraced the cause of the Covenanters and 
Whigs, and as Walter's disposition was studious, such 
pohtics as he held were probably of the same colour. 
One thing is certain, whatever proportion of the Clan 
rallied to the standard of Prince Charlie, they were not 
led by their Chief, in person, which probably accounts 
for the following reference by Mr. A. M. Slackay in 
"The Celtic Monthly"— 

" At no time was there one half of the Highland Clans 
engaged on the Jacobite side. From the very beginning 
many of them were Covenanters and WTiigs — 
Campbells, Grants of Strathspey, Colquhouns, Forbeses, 
MacFarlanes, MacKays, MacNaughtons, Munros, 
Rosses, Sinclairs and Sutherlands. These were always 
on the Hanoverian side, and in the 1745 rising, there 
falls to be added the MacDonalds, and MacLeods of 
Skye, and the Mackenzies of Seaforth and Kintail, who 
were influenced by President Forbes. 

Let us put it into figures and we can see how the 
matter stood. 

The Campbells could put into the field say, 2,000 ; 
Colquhouns, 500 ; Forbeses, 500 ; Grants of Strathspey, 
600 ; Mackays, 1,000 ; MacFarlanes, 300 ; Mac- 
Naughtons, 300 ; Munros, Rosses, 600 ; Sinclairs, 
1,000 ; The Earl of Sutherland, 1,500. To which we 
add, MacDonalds of Skye and North Uist, 1,000 ; 
MacLeods of Skye and Harris, 1,000 ; MacKenzies, 
1,500 ; Total, 12,300. 

Walter — Twentieth Chief 135 

But where, ah where the Campbells' martial crest ? 
Where MacKenzie, Munro and all the rest ? 
Have Forbes, Mac Kay and Sutherland no place 
Among the chivalry of Albyn's race ? 
Where Ross, Sinclair ? Where Gunn and bold MacRae ? 
Where the MacNaughton and the MacLeod array ? 
Colquhoun, Buchanan, and MacFarlan too — 
Why were their blades lost to the bonnets blue ? 

So here we have a direct conflict of evidence. Mclan 
says that three hundred of the clan were " out," while 
MacKay says the clan did not take part in the rebellion, 
and that its muster was the same figure — three hundred. 
Of course it must be remembered that there were by 
this time many other groups of MacFarlanes besides 
the men of Arrochar. 

Dr. Johnson visited Arrochar in his prejudiced 
peregrinations through the Highlands. It was Walter 
who administered the recorded reproof. On meeting, 
the Doctor said, " How do you do, Mr. MacFarlane ? " 
whereupon the Chief drew himself up and replied with 
dignity, " There are many MacFarlanes — I am 

Walter declared his arms at the Court of the Lord 
Lyon in 1750. 

Vve have been at pains to endeavour to locate the 
town house in Edinburgh where Walter died, and for 
help in this matter we have to express our indebtedness 
to Mr. Will Cowan of 47 Braid Avenue, Edinburgh, 
who writes : — 

" The following is all the information I have been 
able to obtain regarding the house in the Canongate 
where Walter MacFarlane lived and died. The 
Edinburgh Directories contain the following — 

1773. — McFarlane of McFarlane, near Queensberry House, 
1774-5-6. — William McFarlane of McFarlane, Reid's Close, 

As Reid's Close is quite near to Queensberry House, 

136 History of Clan MacFarlane 

the entry in 1773 no doubt refers to the same address, 
viz., Reid's Close. The 1773 issue is the earUest 
Edinburgh Directory. Two points remain doubtful 
(i) Was MacFarlane's house the one in the main street 
of the Canongate, at the head or entrance of Reid's 
Close or was it behind in the Close itself. In those 
days a house at the head of a Close was often considered 
as being part of the Close and indeed generally was 
entered from the Close. In this case the house in that 
portion is still (1917) standing, and is rather a notable 
old mansion. 

" In Wilson's " Memorials of Edinburgh,' 1848 
edition, in Volume II., page 79, there is a front view of 
the house and in Volume I., page 217, a back view, 
from the interior of the Close. I have found no 
reference in any books on Edinburgh to the MacFarlane 
f amUy in connection with this house. (2) One cannot 
be certain from the Directory entries, or indeed from 
the notice of Walter MacFarlane's death, whether he 
was owner or merely tenant. The lawyers who at 
present have the title deeds of the property at Reid's 
Close, say that the older deeds have been lost, and the 
present existing titles do not go far enough back to 
settle the question as to whether any MacFarlane ever 
owned the property." 

Resuming the chequered narrative of the parish and 
its church, we find that in 1709 the Presbytery of 
Dumbarton obtained a decree of the Court of Session 
for a church, manse and glebe for the parish of Arrochar, 
but the carrying out of that decree was delayed, in 
consequence of the minority of the Laird of MacFarlane 
(Walter) and of his embarrassed circumstances. Mr. 
Alexander Graham of Duchray, writing in 1724, says : 
" In this parish " (Tarbet, now Arrochar) " there is 
no church yet built." He adds, " all the inhabitants 
use the Irish language." It was not tiU 1733 that the 
church was actually built. The manse was built in 


Presented to Arrochar Church, by Hon. Helen Arbuthnot, wife of Walter, 20th Chief; 
still in servicfc. 

Walter — Twentieth Chief 137 

Some of the ruins of the old church of Arrochar 
remain. Above the principal door, which has been 
preserved, the date of 1733 is carved in very beautiful 
figures. This may be held as the year in which the 
church was completed, and it shows the great delay of 
nearly a century in building it after negotiations for 
the separation of Arrochar as a parish from the parish 
of Luss had commenced. The present church was 
built in 1847. 

In 1742, the Honourable Helen Arbuthnot, daughter 
of Robert, Second Viscount Arbuthnot, second wife of 
John MacFarlane, the 19th Chief, afterwards wife of 
Mr. John Spotswoode of that Ilk, made a present of 
Communion Cups for the Church of Arrochar. On the 
cups is engraved the crest of the Arbuthnot family, 
being a peacock's head on a wreath, couped proper, 
with the following inscription : — " The gift of the 
Honourable Helen Arbuthnot to the Parish of 
Arroquhar." There is no date on the cups. This lady 
also bequeathed the sum of two hundred merks Scots to 
purchase a bell for the kirk of Arrochar, and also five 
hundred merks Scots for behoof of the poor of the 
parish. Her son Walter, granted an obligation, dated 
at New Tarbet, 3rd September, 1745, to the minister 
and other members of the Kirk- Session of Arrochar, 
for the 200 merks above mentioned, with the interest 
thereof from the term of Whitsunday, 1742, and he 
also granted bills to the minister and Kirk- Session for 
the payment of the other sum. But neither of these 
legacies was paid to the Kirk- Session for many years 
after. Walter the son of the donor, having died in 
1767, the estates of William, his brother, who succeeded 
him, and John, William's son, were then vested in 
trustees on behalf of their creditors. The estates of 
Arrochar were sold in the year 1785. It was not, 
however, till the year 1802 that the Kirk- Session 
received complete payment of the two hundred merks 
bequeathed by Helen Arbuthnot, the Lady of Arrochar, 

138 History of Clan MacFarlane 

the seventh and last dividend due to the Kirk-Session 
out of the estates of the then deceased William and John 
MacFarlane being then paid. The Session now resolved 
to apply this money to the purpose for which it was 
originally bequeathed. Delays, however, again occurred. 
Thirteen years elapsed before the bell was actually 
acquired. At the Kirk- Session of Arrochar, 3rd 
January, 1815, Mr. Gillespie, minister of the parish, 
reported that he had bought a bell for the church from 
Mr. Brownlee of Greenock, in October, 18 13, which 
amounted to £24 3s. lod. ; Lady Helen Arbuthnot 
having left money for the purpose. The beU amounted 
to the above sum, including freight, chain, rope, the 
smith's and wright's accounts, and other incidental 

" The bell was bought," writes Mr. Winchester, 
" sixty years after the legacy for its purchase was left, 
and hung in a tree — known to this day as the bell tree 
— for there was no place for a bell in the plain structure 
of the old kirk ; and when the new church was built in 
1847, the bell was taken down from its place in the bell 
tree and placed where it now hangs in the church tower. 

" While the bell hung in the bell tree it was a source 
of great temptation to ill disposed persons to take a 
pull at the rope, and an old inhabitant relates the 
following story of such an abuse : — 

" Malcolm MacFarlane, an erring parishioner, had 
been summoned to a Kirk Session in the manse in a 
case of discipline. Malcolm had been rather faithfully 
handled by the court, and he left the manse in an angry 
mood. On his way home he passed the bell tree, and it 
occurred to him that he might take a pull at the bell 
just to relieve his feelings. But just at that moment 
a neighbour's goat wandered past, and Malcolm seized 
him and securing the bell rope to his horns, withdrew 
to a safe place to watch what would happen. Of 
course the goat tugged and struggled to escape, and the 
bell rang with irregular and broken sounds, and out 

Walter — Twentieth Chief 139 

came minister and session to see what the cause of the 
strange noises might be. Seeing an uncanny looking 
thing with horns rushing to and fro in the faint Hght, 
and tugging furiously at the bell rope, some of the 
Session thought it must be the devil himself, and it 
was only when the minister mustered up courage 
enough to approach the tree that he found the fiend 
to be nothing more than old Mary Campbell's goat." 
One of the ministers of the parish during Walter's 
period was the Rev. Alexander MacFarlane, who died 
in 1763. He was a distinguished Gaelic scholar, and 
a great wit. He is credited with having lampooned 
his Chief, Walter, in Gaelic verse because, after 1746, 
he introduced south country farmers and their customs 
into the clan country. The lines appear as a note to 
a poem " MacFarlan's Lament," in a volume by 
MacGregor, Edinburgh, under the title of " Albyn's 
Vale and other poems." The publishers were — 
Edinburgh, A. Constable & Co. and Oliver & Boyd ; 
London, Longman & Co., 1824. Apparently it is 
impossible to translate the hues satisfactorily into 
English, as the feature of the poem is a play upon the 
words embodied in it, but for the benefit of our Gaelic 
speaking readers we quote the lines : — 

Tha Factor aig MacPharlain is tha mi mealltach 

Mur ann de Shliochd a' Ghearrain, 

Thug e thugainn Calcadair an aodaich 

Is slaodar de thrusdair Sionnaich 

Dcchas a' choilich Fhrangaich, Ian do 

Shamhuinn le dha gheal-shuil. 

Naile ! chunnaic mi cailleach le cuigeal 

A chuireadh a' chuideachd ud thairis air Leamhuinn. 

140 History of Clan MacFarlane 


William — 2ist Chief. 
1767- 1787. 

Scottish Rulers. 
George III., 1 760-1 820. 

DR. WILLIAM succeeded his brother as 21st Chief 
and, as events were to prove, he was the last 
MacFarlane to hold sway at Arrochar. No 
more " the power of pit and gallows," no more leading 
of wild Highlandmen to the stirring shout of " Loch 
Sloy," no more levying of the Earl's blackmail and 
the defence of the same against harriers from the 
North. The glory had departed. The leaven of 
modern civihsation had bitten deep into the heart of 
MacFarlane, and the old race was outworn. It could 
not bear transplanting, and presently died out. 

William was a physician, and practised in Edinburgh, 
so we expect the clan was left pretty much to its own 
resources. The district, nevertheless, remained almost 
exclusively MacFarlane, for as late as 1804 the old 
ledger of the Tarbet store contains scarcely any other 
name. That there was little or no affinity between the 
clansmen and the Chief, and, we may add, their 
minister, is shown by the following extract from " The 
Old Statistical Account of Scotland," written by that 
clergyman in 1790 : — " The people of this parish are 
mostly MacFarlane, and until lately, they have always 
had a strong attachment to the Laird as Chief j and 
while this subsisted, misanthropy and ferocity were 
marked features in their character." 

William — ^Twenty-first Chief 141 

The writer was the Rev. John Gillespie — a very 
different type of clergyman to that one who went 
tearing through the heather and bracken, sword in 
hand, after the Suinert men, or even the kindly parsons 
who went out of their way to warn the illicit whisky 
distillers of their flock, when the gaugers were around. 

William married Christian, daughter of James 
Dewar of Vogrie. They had a numerous family, of 
whom three sons and three daughters survived child- 
hood — John, Walter, Robert, Janet, Helen and Rachel. 

In our Introductory chapter we stated that Mac- 
Farlane's banshee was a black goose, and true to the 
record of all ancient famihes, the fate of MacFarlane 
was predicted. The story runs as follows : — 

" In the time of the last Chief of the Clan MacFarlane, 
who was Laird of Arrochar, there was a man named 
Robert MacPharic, who lived at Inverioch, and who 
pretended to be possessed of the gift of ' second sight ' ; 
he was at one time, with some others, on Stronafine 
Hill, and slept. He awakened suddenly, and said : 
' MacFarlane's time at Arrochar will not be long, and 
the person who comes in his place will be a stranger to 
us, and will make parlour and kitchen a pig-sty ; and 
shortly before that happens, a black goose will come 
and remain among MacFarlane's geese. It will not be 
known where the goose came from, nor whither it 
went.' He also said : ' There will be four bridges 
where there is now but one, on the estate. MacFarlane 
will shortly after leave Arrochar, and his clan will lose 
all trace of him.' One day, soon after this, a black 
goose alighted among MacFarlane's geese as they were 
feeding, and after eating, flew into a tree. No one cared 
to interfere with it ; it remained, feeding with the geese, 
and stayed nights in the tree for about three months, 
and then disappeared." 

Mrs. MacFarlane Little contends that the prophecy 
was thus fulfilled : — 

" Shortly after this, war broke out between America 

142 History of Clan MacFarlane 

and Great Britain. MacFarlane was heavily taxed, 
and was also deeply in debt. 

" His family had been reared in luxury. Gambling 
with cards was then considered respectable. He 
entertained with a more princely hospitality than the 
revenues of the estate could support. He sold an 
estate that he owned in Jamaica (probably the legacy 
of his brother Alexander. — Ed.) for £8,000, but could 
not avert the threatened ruin, and in 1784, the Barony 
of Arrochar, which for six hundred years had been in the 
possession of the MacFarlanes, passed into the hands 
of strangers. 

" A Mr. Douglas was appointed factor for Ferguson, 
and lived in ' the old castle.' An old man of Arrochar 
told the writer that he had seen the kitchen used as a 
pig- sty, and a well-known clergyman had seen ' a lot 
of Shetland ponies stabled in the keep of the castle.' 

" The Duke of Argyll, wishing to make a new road 
to his Castle of Inveraray,'built three new bridges on the 
estate of Arrochar. 

" So all of MacPharic's prophecies came true." 

The Rev. H. S. Winchester has it that MacPharic 
said specifically that the four bridges would cross 
Ault Phollaig (the small burn at Arrochar House), and 
points out that the fourth bridge was built over this 
stream when the Duke of Argyll made his new road 
along Loch Longside to Roseneath. Also he mentions 
that the keep of the castle was actually used as a 
stable when the front had been rebuilt and was being 
used as an hotel in the beginning of the nineteenth 

Investments in the Darien scheme apparently put 
the copestone upon William's ruin. An important 
creditor, or an agent for creditors, was a certain Hugh 
Mossman, a writer of Edinburgh. In 1784, the estate 
was brought to a judicial sale. The following is the 
Memorial and Abstract of Process of Sale, from The 
Stirling Antiquary : — 

William — Twenty-first Chief 143 

memorial and abstract of process of sale of 
macfarlane of macfarlane's estates, 

7TH JULY, 1784. 

At the instance of 
Hugh Norman, eldest son and heir served and returned to the 
deceased Hugh Mossman, writer in Edinburgh 

Wilham Macfarlane, Esq. of Mactarlane, John Macfarlane* 
Junior thereoi, and their creditors. 
Rental of the lands and Barony of Arrochar and others in the 

Shire of Dumbarton. 
Down. — The half of the lands of Down — Malcolm Macfarlane 
and his mother lease 21 years from Whitsunday, 1766, 
money rent, ^10 13s. 
Down. — The other half of Down, Peter and Donald Macintyre» 

19 years, 1768. 
Ardleish. — Ardleish, Dougal and Alexander Macdougals, now 
Malcolm Macfarlane, a stone of butter at the proven conversion 

of I OS. is added to the money rent — 19 years. 
Blairstang AND Stuckmud. — Malcolm Macfarlane and Margaret 

Garvual, Margaret Lauder. After Whit., 1787, the rent rises 

to ^42. 
Garrachie and Ardluie. — Alexander Macfarlane Shicandroin. 
Upper Ardvorlich. 
Upper Inverouglass and forest of Beinveurlic and Nether 

Caenmore and Blaireunich. 
Part of Tarbet called Inverchulin. 
Hill of Tarbet. 

Part of Tarbet called Claddochbeg. 
Claddoch mire with the laigh park of Balhenaan. 

144 History of Clan MacFarlane 

Part of Tarbet, 

Another part of ditto. 

Easter Balhennan. 

Pendicle of Balhennan and House and Wynd at 

Ty Vichattan. 
Part of Balhennan. 

Upper and Nether Stuckintibbert. 

Mill of Cambusnaclach and Mill Lands. 
Nether Inverouglass. 
Choilcorran and Invergroin, Gartanfaired and Greitnein, 

expiration of present lease ;^88 4s. gjd. 
Tynalarach Ardinny and Muirlagan. 
Stronfyne Glenluyns and the lands and mill of Portchirble 

and hill of Beinvein. 

The Baron Officers sons pay for attune. 

The tenant pays over and above his rent the stipend to the 
minister of Luss, being 3 bolls meal, 8i stone to the boll, and 
40s. Scots, or 3s. 4d. of money and 3s. id. for Communion 
elements, and as the payment of stipend agrees with the teind 
duty in the feu charter to the superior, it is not here added to 
their rental nor is it hereafter stated as a deduction. The 
school salary being 4s. 3d., is also paid by the tenant over and 
above the rent. Stuckgown comprehending Stuckdon and 
Stuckvolge — George Syme, vassal, John Brock in Garshuke, 
and Archibald Maclachan, tacksman in Bunnackrae, both bred 
farmers and grassers concur in deponing that they both together 
visited and inspected the farms of Inveresk and Balfrone and 
parks about the mansion house of New Tarbet, all in the natural 
possession of Macfarlane, and that in their opinion they were 
worth upon a 19 years' lease of yearly rent £47 los. od. 

William — Twenty-first Chief 145 

«, 15 4. Loads Days of Days 

Money Rent Doz. of of a Man ofk 

£ S. d. Hens Chickens Eggs Wedders Peats and Horse Man 

10 13 o 1 10 10 — — 6 — 

10 13 o 2 10 10 — — 6 — 

43 50 _____ __ _ 

24 00 — — — — — 6 — 

26116 — — — — — — — 

30 00 — — — 3 — — — 

27 10 6 I 12 12 — — 12 — 

14 13 o 2 10 10 — — 6 — 

79 17 9 ____ __ _ 

23 30 2 — — — — — — 

4 16 4 I 6 6 — — — 6 
9 7 7iV 2 6 6 — 12 6 — 
6 9 Qj-^ 266 — 12 — 8 

20 19 11^ 3 6 6 ^ — — 6 — 

6 4 2A — — — — _ _ _ 

326 166— 44 — 

200 I 3 3— — _ — 

0150 I — — — — — — 

10 3 iotV 266 — — 6 — 
940 2 6 6 — — — 6 
3150 2 — — — __ _ 
300 I — — — — — — 

11 13 2^ 4 12 12 — — — 12 

12 13 o 4 12 12 — — 6 — 

5 5 6t\ — — — — — 10 — 
448 ____ _ 2 — 

17 19 IOtV — — — _ _ 10 — 

47 77 ____ __ _ 

53 15 6 _____ __ _ 

65 19 2/tz — — — — _ _ _ 

6100 — — — — — — — 

IIOO — — — — 

32 00 2 


47 10 o — — — — — — — 

677 3 7tV" 36 III III 3 28 86 32 
Carried forward, i^jj 3 7tV 


History of Clan MacFarlane 

B r ought forward, £6jy 


36 Hens at 8d. each, 

III Chickens at 4d. each, 

Ill doz. Eggs at 3d. per doz., 

3 Wedders. los. each, 

28 Loads Peats, 6d. per Load, 

Tenants pay cess above Rent, total valued 
Rent of the above lands, ;^738 3s. 4d., 
after deduction of lands feued to George 

Total cess of these lands, 

Deduction, ... 

Free Rent, 
Abstract of the different proven values — 
ist. — The lands and barony of Arrochar 
and others in the Shire of Dum- 
bartonshire, 25 years purchase of 
free rent and value of woods ;^3,2oo, 
2nd. — Lands of Burnhouses in the shire of 

Berwick, 22 years purchase, 
3rd. — The lands of Bartlaws and Hunt- 
field, in the Shire of Lanark, 22 
years' purchase of free proven 
rental, 5 years' purchase of land 

(^38 13s. 4d-) 


Due and noted, ;^42,9i8 2s. ^^\d. 
Lands in Dumbarton, deductions. 
Tullichintane held of Sir James Colquhoun 

of Luss feu. 
At entry 20 merks, every successor 40 merks. 
Stipend to minister of — 

Arrochar out of these lands, ;^28 17 9r\ 
Schoolmaster of Arrochar, 5 5 31^ 

Tiends of Macfarlane's Arrochar, 80 merks 

Tiends of Nether Arrochar 12 merks, or 
12 Bolls Meal, at los. per Boll, 

Considerably below stipend, 
Macfarlane's Arrochar, 400 merks. 
Nether Arrochar, 



o 14 

^683 16 4tV 

13 3 3tV 


17 7tt 
14 ^tV 

662 5 4H 

19,756 15 2li 
10 o 


1,604 18 iot% 
;f22.863 4 Its 

34 3 It% 
















William— Twenty-first Chief 147 

The estates were purchased by Ferguson of Wraith 
for ;£28,ooo, who in 182 1 sold them to Sir James 
Colquhoun, Bart., of Luss, for £78,000. 

William frequently visited a Parlane MacFarlane in 
Glasgow, who was one of the largest merchants of that 
city, conducting a considerable foreign trade. The 
Chief was wont to arrive in a handsome coach drawn by 
four fine horses, and on these occasions all Saltmarket 
turned out to see him pass. Upon one of these visits 
the chief requested Parlane to send abroad for a china 
tea service for him. A design was accordingly drawn, 
and in due course the tea service arrived, decorated 
with the chief of MacFarlane's arms, along with a 
duplicate set which, it is said, the Laird had quietly 
ordered for a gift to Parlane. What was Parlane's 
relationship to William is unknown, but Parlane's son, 
also named Parlane, in 1822, visited in Edinburgh two 
daughters of the Arrochar house, who were in receipt 
of a Government pension. On his taking his leave, 
wishing to give him some memento of his visit, the 
ladies presented Parlane with a deHcate and quaint 
china tea-cup and saucer, which is still preserved by 
the son of Parlane's second son, David, also named 
Parlane, who is a merchant in Glasgow. Other 
descendants of Parlane possess two china plates, which 
bear the arms of a Chief of MacFarlane, and are 
doubtless the remains of the duplicate presentation set 
referred to above. The ladies of the Arrochar family 
were doubtless Janet, William's eldest daughter, and 
Margaret, daughter of William's eldest son, John, as 
it is known that they lived together in Edinburgh. 
William died in 1787. 

A picture of High Street, Glasgow, showing the elder 
Parlane's premises with his name over the door, was 
exhibited at a recent Glasgow Exhibition, lent by 
Mr. W. Kirsop. Parlane the younger, was buried in 
the Ramshorn Churchyard, Glasgow. 

William — ^Twenty-first Chief 147 

The estates were purchased by Ferguson of Wraith 
for ;^28,ooo, who in 182 1 sold them to Sir James 
Colquhoun, Bart., of Luss, for ;£78,ooo. 

William frequently visited a Parlane MacFarlane in 
Glasgow, who was one of the largest merchants of that 
city, conducting a considerable foreign trade. The 
Chief was wont to arrive in a handsome coach drawn by 
four fine horses, and on these occasions all Saltmarket 
turned out to see him pass. Upon one of these visits 
the chief requested Parlane to send abroad for a china 
tea service for him. A design was accordingly drawn, 
and in due course the tea service arrived, decorated 
with the chief of MacFarlane's arms, along with a 
duplicate set which, it is said, the Laird had quietly 
ordered for a gift to Parlane. What was Parlane's 
relationship to William is unknown, but Parlane's son, 
also named Parlane, in 1822, visited in Edinburgh two 
daughters of the Arrochar house, who were in receipt 
of a Government pension. On his taking his leave, 
wishing to give him some memento of his visit, the 
ladies presented Parlane with a delicate and quaint 
china tea-cup and saucer, which is still preserved by 
the son of Parlane's second son, David, also named 
Parlane, who is a merchant in Glasgow. Other 
descendants of Parlane possess two china plates, which 
bear the arms of a Chief of MacFarlane, and are 
doubtless the remains of the duplicate presentation set 
referred to above. The ladies of the Arrochar family 
were doubtless Janet, William's eldest daughter, and 
Margaret, daughter of William's eldest son, John, as 
it is known that they lived together in Edinburgh, 
William died in 1787. 

A picture of High Street, Glasgow, showing the elder 
Parlane's premises with his name over the door, was 
exhibited at a recent Glasgow Exhibition, lent by 
Mr. W. Kirsop. Parlane the younger, was buried in 
the Ramshorn Churchyard, Glasgow. 

148 History of Clan MacFarlane 

The following table shows Parlane's descendants : — 



! I I 

James, David William 

D.S.P. I I 

I I I I I 

Parlane James, William, Charlef B., John 

Charles B. MacFarlane is the eminent amateur golfer 
and he took part in foimding the Enghsh section of 
the Society of the Clan. 

Of the laird's children John, the eldest son succeeded 
his father as 22nd Chief of the Clan, although no longer 
of the Barony of Arrochar. Of him later. 

The next brother Walter, married Marion, only child 
of John Trotter of Morton Hall, and they had five 
children, Wilham (born 1769), Christian (born 1770), 
Janet (born 1774), Alexander Trotter (born 1779), and 
Robert (born 1780). The first four all appear in order 
in the Parochial Register of the County of Edinburgh. 
During that period the family resided at Saughton 
Hall, but when Robert, the youngest child was born 
they were living at Fountain Bridge, Edinburgh. 
William, the eldest son, went to sea and was first mate 
on an East Indiaman, under the command of the Hon. 
Captain Elphinstone. He died, unmarried, at St. 
Helena, before 1811. Of the daughters, we only know 
that two of them were trained to be milhners in 
Edinburgh, and afterwards followed the same business 
in London. One of them is said to have married a 
Mr. Loch. Of the second son, Alexander Trotter 
MacFarlane we have no information, but of the 
youngest son, Robert, Miss Jean MacFarlane Scott, 
writes : "I could not trace his birth register in any of 
the church or parish records although I searched very 
carefully, giving time and close attention. I knew 

William — Twenty-first Chief 149 

he was grandson of William MacFarlane of MacFarlane 
(21st Chief) and cousin to my own great-great-grand- 
father (William, son of John, 22nd Chief), and in 
putting all together that I knew and could find out, I 
felt sure he was the third son of Walter MacFarlane and 
Marion Trotter. Robert was born 1780, married 18 15, 
and died in 1843. He left two sons and a daughter. 
The eldest son died ten years later and the daughter 
soon after. The youngest son, Henry, was in the army 
and went to India. There he had a sunstroke which 
affected his mind so much that he was in a private 
asylum from 1839 to 1892, when he died. None of the 
children married. Robert was often with his cousin 
Francis, whose grand-father Malcolm founded the 
Irish branch." 

Walter, Robert's father, was aUve in 1794, as in 
that year he presented the portrait of his uncle, Walter 
(the 2ist Chief) to the Antiquary Society of Scotland. 
Of the third son of William, Robert, our information 
is meagre and conjectural. He married, and had three 
daughters, one of whom died unmarried. The other 
two, unmarried, were Uving in Edinburgh in 1816. 
Robert is stated to have held a sinecure office and Hved 
at Brompton, London, and is believed to be the same 
with the miscellaneous writer, Robert MacFarlane, M. A., 
who was killed, being run over by a carriage in Ham- 
mersmith, on 8th August, 1804 ; but another account 
states that he was alive in 1827. 

Of William's three daughters, we have only an account 
of Janet, the eldest. As we have mentioned she lived 
with her niece in Edinburgh, where they were visited 
by Parlane of Glasgow. " The last survivor of the 
family of William MacFarlane of Arrochar," writes 
Fraser, " was Miss Janet, or, as she was generally 
called, Jess MacFarlane, who became the lineal re- 
presentative of the MacFarlanes of Arrochar. She 
was a frequent visitor at Rossdhu. Being quite a 
character in her way she was generally called 

150 History of Clan MacFarlane 

' The Chief.' She died on the 2nd December, 182 1, and 
was interred in Greyfriars' Churchyard, Edinburgh." 

During WiUiam's time, in 1774, the scholarly Dr. 
Stuart was minister of the parish, and among his many 
great attainments was a knowledge of the " black art." 
One day, then, as the learned doctor was walking home 
from a visit to a parishioner who lived up Loch Lomond- 
side, he met two " gaugers " just at the foot of the brae 
on the old Wade Road, near where the public school 
now stands. Now the reverend doctor had just left his 
parishioner in the act of preparing some malt for the 
brew, and he had a shrewd suspicion that the gaugers 
also knew something of what was going forward, and 
that they were on their way to catch the smuggler in the 
act. So, looking the men of the law in the face for some 
time, the doctor placed his staff across the road at their 
feet, and after making certain mysterious signs, he 
directed them to stand where they were until he came 
back. He then hurried back and warned his parish- 
ioner, who immediately cleared the coast of all 
questionable gear, while the poor gaugers stood power- 
less in the middle of the road until the minister came 
back and released them. 

Several tales go to show that the ministers of 
Arrochar had a kindly feeling towards the " water of 
Hfe," and, writes Mr. H. S. Winchester, an amiable 
toleration of smugglers. 

During the middle of the 19th century there were 
several excisemen stationed in the parish, but in former 
times the visit of the " ganger " was a regular event, 
and on two occasions at least the parish minister 
assisted to defeat the law. 

Lawless in other respects, it was not to be expected 
that the men of Arrochar should have much respect for 
the excise laws. Nor indeed had they. Shebeens 
abounded even within Uving memory. On the road 
between Tarbet and the Big Rest in Glencroe, the sites 
of eight places where whisky was sold are still pointed 

William — Twenty-first Chief 151 

out. There was one at Tarbet, one at Tighvechtan, 
three in the village of Arrochar, one at the " Highland- 
man's Height " near the present torpedo station, one 
at the school house in Glencroe, and one at the Big Rest. 

All that now remains of the tavern at the Highland - 
man's Height is the green slope which was once the 
garden, and faint traces of the house walls buried in 
the grass and the heather. Yet the house existed well 
into the nineteenth century ; and it is believed to have 
sheltered Robert Bums for a night as he passed this 
way on his tour to the west. It is said that there 
exists a letter written by Burns during that journey, 
and dated from " Knockeribus, Arrochar," There is 
no place of that name now in Arrochar or the neigh- 
bourhood, but possibly this was the former name of the 
Highlandman's Height. 

But one parish minister of the time — the Rev. John 
Gillespie — does not seem to have shared any such 
sentiments. Writing in the old Statistical Account 
(1790) he tells that the attachment of the MacFarlanes 
to their Chief was the main cause of the misanthropy 
and ferocity of manners which marked their character. 
But the sale of the estates, the departure of the old 
Chiefs, the making of the military roads, the settlements 
of grazers from the low country — all these causes have, 
in the opinion of that parish minister, " contributed to 
extinguish the remains of that system of barbarity 
which so long retarded the civilisation of Europe." 
And he goes on to say : — " The people are now well- 
bred, honest, and industrious, and not addicted to the 
immoderate use of spirituous liquors." As to the use 
of spirituous liquors, we are staggered to think of tin; 
former state of the parish, when we remember that at 
the time when the reverend gentleman wrote his 
account, there was a shebeen in almost every corner, 
and at least six recognised pubhc houses existed between 
Tarbet and the head of Glencroe. 

152 History of Clan MacFarlane 


John — 22nd Chief. 

Scottish Rulers. 
George III., 1760-1820. 

JOHN, the first of the landless I.airds, married 
Catherine, daughter of James Walkinshaw of that 
Ilk. They had two sons and two daughters, 
William, James, Margaret Elizabeth, and Christian. 

It is persistently stated by writers and historians 
that William's eldest son and heir " emigrated to 

This vague statement, coupled with the legal 
language of the " Memorial and Abstract of Process of 
Sale of MacFarlane of MacFarlane' s Estates," already 
quoted, caused Mrs. MacFarlane Little in her " Clan 
Farlan," to conceive an amazing fable. She fell into 
the extraordinary error of regarding " Hugh Norman, 
eldest son and heir, served and returned to the deceased 
Hugh Mossman," as the eldest son and heir of " William 
MacFarlane, Esq., of MacFarlane." Because of the 
" Junior " attached to his name, she apparently 
regarded John as a younger son of William. 

The story, based on these flimsy premises, has 
obtained wide credence in America, where Mrs. Little's 
book was published, so it is necessary for us to state, 
clearly and categorically, that Hugh Norman was the 
son of an Edinburgh writer, named Hugh Mossman, 
and that John MacFarlane was the eldest son and heir 
of William MacFarlane of Arrochar. 

Wilham, John's eldest son was bom 29th May, 1770, 
and James was bom within half an hour of his elder 










Showing MacFarlane's debts to the Church of Scotland, discharged. 

John — ^Twenty-second Chief 153 

brother. In the record of the birth and baptism of 
these children they are said to be the sons of John 
MacFarlane, younger of MacFarlane, and Mistress 
Catherine Walkinshaw, his spouse, residing at Hermiston, 
in the parish of Salton (Arrochar Parish Register, H.M. 
General Register House, Edinburgh). To Miss Jean 
MacFarlane Scott we owe the following particulars of 
the continuance of the parent stem to its extinction, 
with her uncle William. 

William, 21st Chief. 



1 770-1 820 (about). 



(181 3-1 866) Jane (Scott). 
D.S.P. I 

! I 

Walter MacFarlane Jean MacParlane 
Scott Scott. 

Miss MacFarlane Scott writes, " My mother's brother 
was so like Walter, the Antiquary, that if the oil painting 
we have of him was placed alongside the one in the 
gallery in Edinburgh, you would say, father and son" 

Of Miss Jean MacFarlan Scott herself, we are glad 
to reproduce the following tribute, written by the late 
Robert MacFarlan of Dumbarton (the rescuer of the 
Clan Pibroch), which appeared in The Celtic Monthly. 

" With the best blood of two Clans running in her 
veins Miss Jean MacFarlan Scott of Sunderland, and 
Farmfield, Ayrshire, deserves honourable notice. 
Claiming, as she does, to be descended from " Chief 
William," the last of the MacFarlanes who held the 
ancestral estates of Arrochar, Miss MacFarlan Scott 

154 History of Clan MacFarlane 

is no counterfeit or imitation clanswoman. One cannot 
meet her and remain in suspense or uncertainty as to 
her being a true clanswoman, jealous for the honour of 
Siol nam Parlanach. This lady of the Clan is not a 
voice merely, for the lively force of her mind, united 
with good sound sense and business capacity, impel 
her to action. Take an illustration ! The inscription 
slab in Greyfriars, Edinburgh, to the memory of Miss 
MacFarlane of that ilk, fell out of its place and was 
lying unheeded for years, when a private soldier named 
MacFarlan tried to fix it up again, but failed. The 
subject of our notice on learning of the circumstance, 
had the work done at her own cost and under her own 

" In her search for folklore of her Clan, Miss MacFarlan 
Scott has been untiring. She has spent days in the 
Register House, Edinburgh, in Glasgow, and in Luss, 
Arrochar, Dumbarton, and numerous other places, in 
pursuit of her favourite hobby, and has been in corres- 
pondence with MacFarlanes the world over. 

" But no notice of Miss MacFarlane Scott would be 
complete without making pointed reference to the 
marked business abihty which she possesses, and which 
she has turned to good account. When her father, 
who carried on business in Sunderland, died, she was 
thrown upon her own resources, and she has hved to 
negative two erroneous but common impressions, that 
a woman cannot have business aptitude of a high order, 
and that the Celtic craving for folklore, pedigree and the 
like is inconsistent with success in the matter of fact 
battle of life. The high-class character of the firm of 
Scott & Co., Lome House, Sunderland, is well known. 
It is not so widely known that its fame and success 
have been secured by the abihty and untiring energy 
of this gifted lady. In the conduct of the business of 
" Lome House," its owner has been accustomed to 
make almost monthly journeys to London and other 
haunts of fashion, as well as to visit periodically the 

John — Twenty-second Chief 155 

more important manufacturing centres. Miss Mac- 
Farlan Scott, as it were, steals away from the active 
business of her warehouse and the duties of her 
counting-house for a day or two now and again to rest 
mind and body, which she sometimes does by 
journeying to Loch Sloy, or by cHmbing the neighbour- 
ing hills (for a sprig of cloudberry) with such agility 
that she has been described as one of the most 
accomplished of lady mountaineers." 

Neither of John's daughters married. Christina 
pre-deceased her sister who, as we have stated, took up 
housekeeping with her aunt, " The Chief." In the old 
Edinburgh Directories we find the following entries : — 

1829-30. — Miss MacFarlane of that Ilk, 9 Dundas Street. 

1831-32. — Miss MacFarlane of that Ilk. 9 Dundas Street. 

1834-35. — Miss MacFarlane of that Ilk, 37 Heriot Row. 

She died, probably in the Heriot Row house, on 12th 
May, 1846, aged seventy-nine, and was interred in 
Greyfriars' Churchyard, Edinburgh. The monument 
bearing a well cut coat of arms, recording the deaths of 
both the aunt and her niece, stands against the south- 
west wall of the church. The full inscription it bears 
is : — 













156 History of Clan MacFarlane 




Allan (also ClanRanald). 

Allanson (also Clan Ranald). 

Allan ACH (also ClanRaudld). 




Griesch (Aberdeen). 

Grassie (Aberdeen). 

Grassick (Montrose). 


Galloway (Stirling). 




Mac Allan (also ClanRanald, 
Mac Kay and Stewart). 



MacAndro (of Dumbarton- 


MacCause (Thomson). 

MacCaw (also Stewart of 



MacEachern (also an 
ancient race of Kintyre 
and Criagnish) 




MacGreusich (albo 


MacNair (alsoMcNaughton). 
MacNuyer (also Buchanan 

and McNaughton). 
MacRob (also Gunn). 
MacWilliam (also Gunn). 
Miller (of Dumbartonshire). 










Septs of MacFarlane 157 


Septs of MacFarlane. 

THE name of MacFarlane," writes Buchanan, 
" is very numerous both in the north and 
west Highlands, particularly in the counties 
of Dumbarton, Perth, Stirling and Argyle ; as also in 
the shires of Inverness and Moray and the western 
isles. Besides, there are a great many in the north 
of Ireland. 

" There is also a vast number of descendants from, 
and dependents on, this surname and family, of other 
names, of which those of most account are a sept 
termed Allans or MacAllans, who are so called from 
Allan MacFarlane, their predecessor, a younger son of 
one of the Lairds of MacFarlane who went to the 
north and settled there, several centuries ago. This 
sept is not only very numerous, but also many of them 
are of very good account ; such as the families of 
Auchouachan, Balnengown, Druminn, etc. They reside 
mostly in Mar, Strathdon, and other northern counties. 

" There are also MacNairs, MacEoins, MacErrachers, 
MacWilliams, MacAindras, MacNiters, Maclnstalkers, 
Macjocks, Parians, Farlans, Graumachs, Kinniesons 
etc., all which septs acknowledge themselves to be 
MacFarlanes, together with certain particular Septs of 
MacNayers, MacKinlays, MacRobbs, MacGreusichs, 
Smiths, Millers, Monachs and Weirs." 

On another page we give a Hst of all the names we 
have been able to discover, attributed to MacFarlane. 
We are not prepared to vouch for the accuracy of this 
list. In the following pages is set forth such information 

158 History of Clan MacFarlane 

as has reached us regarding particular names without 
making any claim to completeness. 

In our hst we have separated Galbraith, Lennox and 
Napier from the rest of the Septs, as we do not under- 
stand why these families should be included as 
MacFarlane. Galbraith was a separate and distinct 
family. Families of the name of Lennox must be 
either descended from the parent house of Lennox or 
from retainers of that family, while the only Napier 
connection is the marriage of a gentleman of that 
name with a daughter of Duncan, 8th Earl of Lennox. 
However, as these three are frequently given as 
Septs of MacFarlane, we include them here. 

Mc Allan. 

As Buchanan remarks, the family of Allan or 
McAllan is one of considerable importance. Their 
progenitor, Allan MacFarlane, a younger son of one 
of the Chiefs of Arrochar, settled in the north of 
Scotland, and his sons, instead of taking the family 
patronymic, called themselves sons of Allan, just as, 
in another case, the sons of Thomas, younger son of 
Duncan, the 6th Chief, called themselves Thomas's 
sons instead of MacFarlane. 

Allanson and Allanach are variants of MacAllan, 
adapted from the Gaelic, Aluinn, signifying illustrious. 

The principal locations of the family are Mar, 
Strathdon, Glenbuchat and Glenmuick. 

Macallan is an old place name in Aberdeenshire. 
The present parish of Knockando, in Moray, was 
originally called Macallan and was united to the parish 
of Knockando during the Regency of the Earl of 

A Mr. J. Lindsay advances the startling statement 
that the name Parlane itself is really Allan. He 
writes : — 

" The name Aluin (Ailin) or Parian is purely Gaelic. 
Skene derives it from al, alia, ail or aill, a stone, rock, 

Septs of MacFarlane 159 

cliff, meaning the man of the cHff or rock ; others 
from ailean, ailen, ellen and allan ; a green plain, 
meadow ; and from fear, a man, meaning the man of 
the green plain. I rather favour the latter." 

Mr. Lindsay's theory has only this justification, that 
the Celtic Parian in Hebrew is Bartholomew, meaning 
" son of furrows," but, of course, Pharlain was not the 
founder of the family. 

The following from The Weekly Scotsman, by 
" Mac-an-t-Sionnaich," gives a summary of the 
ramifications of the name : — 

" The Allans are a branch of a large Scottish family 
group, the MacAllans or Allans. The chief Highland 
branches were those of Aberdeenshire, Bute, Caithness, 
Dumbarton, Perth, and Ross. 

" The name in GaeHc, Ailean, is derived from the early 
Irish Ailene, Adamnan's Ailenus. 

" There were 11,578 Allans in Scotland in 1861. 

" There are many forms of the Clan name — Allan, 
Allanach, AUanson, Alison, Allison, Callan, Callen, 
Callanach, MacAllan, MacAllen, and MacCallan. The 
Callans are a Bute family ; the AUanachs belong to the 
Aberdeen Highlands and Strathspey ; Callanach is an 
uncommon Appin form, while some Callens live at 
Dunoon. The Allansons and Allisons belong to the 
Lowlands, but they are no doubt of Highland or Celtic 

" According to tradition, the Clan Allan of Donside 
fought the Coutts, and were victors, at an early period. 
The MacAllans of Mar and Strathdon are descended 
from Allan MacFarlane, younger son of one of the 
Lairds of MacFarlane, who settled in Strathdon many 
centuries ago. His descendants were known as 
MacAllans, Allanich, or Clan Allan. Some of these 
MacAllans are alluded to by Nisbet (' System of 
Heraldry ') as of Lismurdie, Auchorrachan, Balnagown, 
Kirkton, and Markinch, etc. 

"We find that ' The ancestor of the MacFarlanes of 

i6o History of Clan MacFarlane 

Kirkton (Stirling) was George MacFarlane, of Markinch 
(Fife), second son to Andrew MacFarlane of that ilk, 
in the reign of James V. (See Chapter XXXII.). 
George, having sold the foresaid lands of Markinch, 
settled eventually in the north Highlands among his 
namesakes, the MacFarlanes, promiscuously called in 
the Irish (Gaelic) language M'Allans, Allanich, or Clan 
Allan, because of this descent from Allan MacFarlane. 
From him (George) are descended the famihes of 
Auchorrachan, Balnagown, and Lismurdie, etc., as also 
several others in Braemar and Strathspey. His 
posterity continued in the North for several generations, 
until the time of Patrick MacFarlane, the fourth 
descendant in a direct line, who, returning again to the 
South, purchased the lands of Kirkton (StirUng) ' 
(History of Stirlingshire, v. 2, p. loo-i.). James 
M'Allane, in Dellaborar, Braemar, was prosecuted for 
' remaining at the horn,' 1619 (R. of P.C). John 
Allan, in Delmucklachlie (Mar) was a resetter of 
outlawed MacGregors, 1636. 

" The Allanachs of Strathdon are also apparently 
sprung from the MacFarlanes, ' Na Allanich,' Finlay 
Allenoch was a tenant in the lands of Innemete (Towie) 
in 1588. Wilham Allanach, in Glenmuick, was 
prosecuted for resetting outlawed MacGregors, in 1636. 
There were Allanachs in Torrnonich, in 1660. William 
Allanach, in Cattie, near Birse, 1671. Allanachs in 
Muchrach, Strathspey, 1719. There were four Allan- 
achs in the Strathdon Volunteers in 1798, including 
Sergt. Duncan Allanach. In 1903, there were two 
famihes in Glenbuchat, one at Torrancroy, and one at 
Upperton. They are still to be found in Strathdon and 

" John MacAllan, in Alyth, was a follower of the 
Ogilvies of Clova, in 1585. John MacAllan, in Enoch, 
Strathardle, and others were warned not to harm the 
Robertsons of Straloch, in 1598. Donald and Finlay 
MacAllan, in Easter Russachan, Menteith, were fined 

Septs of MacFarlane i6i 

in 1612 for resetting outlawed MacGregors. Donald 
Allan, in Connachan, Glen Almond, was a prisoner in 
Edinburgh Tolbooth, with some MacGregors, in 1690 — 
' Baron ' Finlay MacAUan, of Stramanane, 1506. 
Allan MacAllane obtained part of the lands of Langil- 
wenach in 1506, which descended to his heirs. Robert 
Allan disponed Easgechraggan and Glenbuy to Sir 
Dugald Stewart in 1669. Ninian Allan was officer of the 
Castle of Rothesay in 168 1. There are still many 
Allans and Callans in Bute. 

" There are many Allans and MacAUans in Caithness, 
and these are probably sprung from William M' Allan, 
descendant of Ferchard of Melness, the physician, 
about 1379. ' William M' Allan sold the Small Isles to 
Sir Donald M'Kay of Strathnavor, There is abounding 
evidence in various wadsett charters of this period that 
the MacAllans were MacKays, the former surname 
being a patronymic, and quite in keeping with the 
custom of the time.' (See Celtic Monthly, April, 1910). 

" Finlay MacAUan appears in the chanonry, Ross, 
1578 ; Thomas Allan, servitor of Munro of Tarrell, Ross, 
1607 ; Finlay MacAUan, in Tain, 1628 ; John MacAUan, 
UUeray, N. Uist, was a tenant on the MacDonald estate, 
1718 ; Gilfelan (Gilfillan) M' Allan and others were 
accused of the slaughter of GiUaspy MacClery (now 
Leckie), at Stirling Assizes, 1477 ; John, younger, and 
John MacAUan, elder, were native tanners at Port of 
Roisdo (Rosdhu), Dumbarton, 1621. 

" The surname Alison or Allison is no doubt derived 
from AUanson. Some authorities have suggested ' son 
of AHce,' but this origin is most unlikely. Thomas 
AUesoun of Lochtoune, Scone, 1587 ; Archibald 
AUasoun M' Arthur, Argyll, 1590 ; James AUasson, in 
Ledcamroch, Balvie, Dumbarton, 1671. 

" AUsoun was another ancient form of the name. 

" Branch Tartans. — MacFarlane — AUan, AUanach, 
MacAUan, MacAUen, of Aberdeen and Banff. 

" MacKay — ^AUan, MacAUan of Caithness. 

i62 History of Clan MacFarlane 

" Stewart of Bute — ^Allan, Callan, Callen, Mac Allan, 
MacCallan of Bute. 

" The following cannot be allocated with certainty : — 
Allanson, Ahson, AlHson, and Callanach." 


Arrol or Arrell is said to be a Dumbartonshire family 
of the Sept of MacFarlane of Kepnoch. The name 
itself is derived from the place-name of Errol, in 
Perthshire (ArroU, 1660). 

Many of this name lived on the MacFarlane and 
Colquhoun lands in Dumbartonshire, in the i6th and 
17th centuries. 

Duncan Errole, minister of Luss, 1590. 

Thomas Arroll, in Arochiebeg, Dumbartonshire, 
under the MacFarlane, and John Errol, in Cashlie, were 
fined in 1614, for resetting members of the Clan Gregor. 

Duncan Arrell, cordiner, in Drumlegark, was put 
to the horn, in 16 19, with the MacFarlanes of Kepnoch 
for raiding (Reg. of P.C). 

Robert Arroll, Dalnair, Lennox, 1592. 

Thomas Errole, in Blairoule, and others, retainers of 
Stewart of Ardvorhk, raided the lands of Cimningham 
of Dnimquhassill, 1592. 

John Arrell, servitor of the Laird of Tullichewne, 

Sir William Arrol, a famous 20th century engineer. 


As to this name being a Sept of MacFarlane, our 
informant is Malcolm MacFarlane, the well known 
Gaelic authority, who writes : — " It will surprise you 
to learn that many of the Ulster Barclays are 
MacFarlanes in the GaeHc. I had evidence of this 
many years ago, and could hardly accept it, but the 
case is as I state." 

Septs of MacFarlane 163 

This name means son of the " greusaich " or shoe- 
maker — from which we have the Lowland Souter. 


The meaning of this name is obvious — the son of the 
stalker — now represented by Stalker only. In 1565 
Neil, son of John Malloch (the Mallochs dwelt in the 
district of Rannoch) was one of the persons employed 
by the Government to take vengeance on the murderers 
(Maclnstalkers) of the son of MacGregor, Dean of 


MacNiter is a phonetic representation of " Mac-an- 
fhigheadair " — son of the weaver. 


" The MacNairs of Lennox," writes Fionn, " now go 
by the name of Weir." 

The legend which gave origin to the " Mac-an- 
Oighres" or MacNairs of Lennox is that of "The 
Piebald Horse." Fionn's version is, as follows : — 

" In the reign of James III. of Scotland, the Laird of 
MacFarlane was slain at the battle of Sauchieburn, 
Stirling, in the year 1488, leaving a widow, who was 
an EngHsh lady, the mother of one son ; he also left a 
son by his first wife, who was his heir ; but this son 
and heir had the misfortune to be proud, vain, silly, 
and a little weak-minded. His half-brother was 
possessed of a beautiful grey horse, which had been 
given to him by some of his mother's relatives. The 
elder brother was about to set out for Stirling, and was 
very desirous of riding this horse, wishing, as the young 
chief, to make a good appearance. The step-mother 
refused the loan of the animal, alleging, as her reason 
for so doing, her fear that it would not be safely brought 
back. Her denial only made the young man more 

i64 History of Clan MacFarlane 

persistent. Finally a written agreement was drawn 
up and signed by the heir, in which he promised to 
forfeit to his half-brother his lands of Arrochar, in 
case the horse was not safely returned. 

" The step-mother bribed the groom in attendance 
to poison the horse on the second day from home, and 
the estate accordingly went to the younger brother. 
The Clan refused to receive the latter as their Chief, 
but combined to acknowledge the elder brother as 
such, though not possessed of the lands of Arrochar. 
Some years later, by special Act of ParUament, these 
lands were restored to the rightful heir. Old people 
in Lennox referred to certain MacFarlanes as ' Sliochd 
an eich bhain,' descendants of the white horse, being 
those who followed the half-brother in contradistinction 
to those who followed the heir, or ' Clann an Oighre,' 
as they called themselves." (Also see Chapter X.). 

Another writer makes the following remarks about 
the MacNairs : — 

" This name is derived from at least three sources, 
namely, the Lennox Sept, connected with the 
MacFarlanes, the Argyleshire Sept, connected with the 
MacNaughtons, and the Ross-shire Sept, connected 
with the MacKenzies. Those of the Lennox were 
originally MacFarlanes." 

Dr. MacBain says : — " The Perthshire Sept appears 
in documents as M'Inayr, 1468 ; Macnayr, 1390 ; 
which is explained Mac-an-Oighre, son of the heir. 
The MacNairs of Cowal, etc., anghcise their name to 
Weir. These MacNairs are said to have been originally 
MacNaughtons. There were McNuirs in Cowal, 1685 ; 
and a John Maknewar, in Dunoon, 1546. The Mac- 
Nuyers of the Lennox also now are known by the name 
of Weir. Of the Gairloch Sept, MacNair, Gaelic, 
Mac-an-uidhar (this is condensed into MTn-uir) for 
Maclain uidhir son of dun {odhar), John ; such is the 
source of the Ross-shire branch. Other facts point to 
another origin, Mac-an-Fuibhir, the stranger's son." 

Septs of MacFarlane 165 

Mr. J. W. MacNair Wallace has made some investi- 
gations into the origin of the name MacNair, and gave 
a summary of his collections in The Oban Times of i6th 
January, 1909. 

" In the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the name of 
' M'Noyare, maro de Menteth ' appears in the rent 
roll of the Earldom of Mar, and in the accounts of the 
Chamberlain of Monteith we find ' Malcolme Mac- 
Macnoyare,' or ' Macnoyar.' In 1454 the name of 
' M'Noyare de Menteth, mari de Down, et mari de 
Strogartenay ' appears. In 1456 he appears again as 
' M'Noyare,' and in the same year one ' Gillaspy 
M'Nare ' is mentioned as having been put in irons at 
Kyrkcuchbrith, being released in 1457, his name then 
spelled ' Maknare.' In 1457 there is mention of a 
' M'Nayr, inhabitans terras ' of Duchray, in the 
Strathearn and Menteith accounts, while in the rentals 
of the Crown lands of the Barony of Downe in 1480 we 
find the names of ' Donaldo M'Nayr,' ' Dovok Maknair,' 
and ' Johanni Maknair.' Curiously, the last-mentioned 
has his name spelled twice as ' Maknair ' and twice as 
' Maknain,' in the rolls, between i486 and 1492. In 
the latter rolls we also find a ' Donaldo M'Hubir,' 
otherwise ' Donaldi Makhubir,' and ' Donaldo M'Ubir '; 
can this be the same as the ' 'Donaldo M'Nayr ' above 
mentioned? In the same rentals of Doune, between 
1492 and 1500 are ' Donaldo M'Nvyr ' and ' Andree 
M'Nvyr,' as well as a ' Johanni Smyth.' In 1521 in 
the Rentals of Menteith, Parkland de Down, we have 
* Elizabeth Maknair,' and in 1532 mention is made of 
William Hamilton of ' Maknaristoun,' auditor of 
Exchequer. In the Menteith accounts also, in a rental 
dated at Halyruidhous in 1574, we find a ' Donaldum 

•' In the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland for the 
period between 1424 and 15 13, ' Rob. Macnare ' 
appears as a witness to a charter, but between 1546 
and 1580 the name assumes the forms of ' M'Nair,' 

i66 History of Clan MacFarlane 

' Maknair,' ' Makynnair,' ' M'Kynnair,' and ' Makkyn- 
nair,' and in a charter of the lands of Menteith in 1554 
there is a tenant ' J oh. Maknoyare.' In a charter dated 
in 1576 at the ' Palatium S. Crucis,' mention is made of 
a ' Duncano M' Kynnair in Dunkeld.' In a confirmation 
of a charter in 1686 appears ' Roberti Maknair, canonici 
Dunkelden,' as well as ' Johanni M'Nair ' and ' Jacobi 
M'Nair.' ' Robert Maknair ' also appears in 1697. 
I should, perhaps, add that the ' Robert Makynnair ' 
was ' rector de Assent ' in 1548. 

" From the Calendar of Scottish Papers we find that 
in February, 1568, ' Arche Macnare ' is one of those 
then attached to, or attendant on, Queen Mary. The 
same list of attendants gives the name of one ' Oduar 
of Tralltrow.' In the papers for 1298 the names of 
' Gillespie M'Enri ' and ' Cuthbert M'Enri ' are given 
as residenters in Galloway. Is there any connection 
here ? 

" In 1605 the Register of the Privy Council of 
Scotland mentions ' Patrick M'Nair,' in Bray of Cluny, 
' Johne M'Nedar,' in MayboU, and ' Alexander M'Nedar' 
in Drumnoir ; while in 1584 we have a 'Johne 
M'Knedar,' burgess of Air; in 1585 an 'Oswald 
M'Knedar' and a ' Johnne M'Nedar' ' Johnne 
M'Nedair ' appears in Register of the Privy Council at 
Holyrood-house as a witness to a bond in 1589, and 
' Johnne M'Nir elder,' in 1591. In 1592 among those 
charged to appear to answer certain charges, and 
denounced as rebels for non-appearance, are ' M'Noder 
in Strogarne, M'inair, Carfing ; Johnne M'innair at 
the Port of Locharne ; AUister Moir M'indeir, servant 
to Alexander Steuart in Auldverik ; and John Dow 
M'Neir.' Can this ' M'Noder in Strogarne ' be of the 
same family as the ' M'Noyare de Menteth, mari de 
Strogartenay ' in 1454 ? If so, this rather favours the 
' d ' of ' Odhar.' To conclude these registers, in 1595, 
' Donald M'Noyer, servant ' at Mildaying, is mentioned. 

" The only mention of the name in the Lang charters 

Septs of MacFarlane 167 

is between 1566 and 1582, and is of a Sir Duncan 
Maknair, alias M'Nair, notary, and treasurer of 

" In conclusion may I mention ' Nigello Fabro ' and 
' Patricium Fabrum,' both of Tarbert, whose names 
appear in the Exchequer Rolls in 1264 ; and we also 
have ' Willelmi Fabri de Lochrys,' alias ' Luchris,' in 
1353 and 1387, This looks like Professor Mackinnon's 
' fuibbir.' 

" In Adam's ' Clans of Scotland,' the MacNairs and 
MacNeurs are given as Septs of the MacFarlanes, and 
the MacNuyers as a Sept of the Macnaughtons. This 
points to two quite separate famihes." 

Mr. Wallace at that time was seeking information in 
regard to reference made in The Oban Times to the 
MacNairs in Cowal in 1685, Maknewar in Dunoon in 
1546, and MacNuyer in Inverness in 1681, also 
Maclnayre, Loch Tay, in 1438, MacNayr (Raid of 
Angus) in 1390, and MacNewar in Dunoon Parish in 


There is a considerable difference of opinion as to 
whether or not Robb is entitled to rank as a Sept of 
MacFarlane. We have ourselves, no definite opinion 
on the subject. E. W. R. in The Weekly Scotsman, 
wrote : — " This name is of Norman descent and is a 
Royal name. Their crest is a naked arm holding up a 
crown wreathed in laurel. They are connected with 
the Clan MacFarlane and wear their tartan." 

Writing to the Hon. Secy, of the Society of The Clan 
MacFarlane, Mr. M. D. Ross, of Edinburgh, on the 
other hand, remarked : — "No rehance ought to be 
placed on traditional pedigrees in the case of so famous 
a Clan as MacFarlane, and the officials should stick out 
for the real Chief representing the old line, or, otherwise, 
appoint a president till the real heir of the race is found. 

The enclosed cutting (E. W. R.'s remarks 

quoted above) shews what absurd views find their way 

i68 History of Clan MacFarlane 

into print. The Robbs do not wear the MacFarlane 

A Mr. Robb bore out Mr. Ross, and Mr. J. Lindsay 
wrote in reply : — 

" Mr. Wm. Robb's assumptions seem out of place, 
in view of the fact that I have often heard of the Robbs 
belonging to the M'Farlane Clan, in Lanarkshire. If 
he looks up Johnston's ' History of the Clans,' he will 
find this opinion corroborated. The name comes from 
Robert, Robb being the Scottish form of the name. 
Robert is said to be a Teutonic personal name of great 
antiquity, introduced into Britain about the time of 
the Conquest. Robertus is frequently found in the 
' Domestic Book.' Besides having itself become a 
surname, it has given rise to a great many others, as 
Roberts, Robarts, Robertson, Robins, Robbins, 
Robinson, Robbie, Robison, Robeson, Robb, Robson, 
Roby. It has also taken the form of Fitz-Robert, 
and in Wales, of Ap- Robert and Ap-Robyn, now 
contracted to Probert and Probyn. Variants are Dobb 
and Hobb, from the former of which we get Dobbs, 
Dobby, Dobbie, Dobson, Dabson, Dobbin, Dobbins, 
Dobinson ; and from the latter, Hobbs, Hobbes, 
Hobson, Hobbins, Hobkins, Hopkins, Hopkinson, and 
Hoby. In the olden times all, no matter what name 
they had, had to be dependents of some Sept or Clan 
for their own safety. Clan MacFarlane has a fair list 
of other names than its own, such as Gruamach, 
Griesck, Kinnieson, Lennox, MacAindra, M'AUan, 
M'Caa, M'Cause, M'Caw, M'Eoin, M'Erracher, M'Gaw, 
M'Geoch, M'Nair, M'Rob, M'Robb, M' Walter, 
M'Wilham, Michie, Napier, Parlane, Stalker, Weaver, 
Weir. These are not all, but they let us see how our 
ancestors had to bind themselves together for defence." 

Mc Willi AM. 
Mc William is another name in dispute. Mr. H. D. 
McWilliam, writing in The Celtic Monthly, says:— 

Septs of MacFarlane 169 

" The writer is aware that his patronymic is to be 
found in works relating to the clans as a Sept name 
of the Clan MacFarlane only, suggesting to the un- 
initiated, at least, that all McWilhams belong to that 
Clan. If any one chooses to write to a tartan ware- 
house for a pattern of McWilliam tartan, he will be 
promptly furnished with one of the Clan MacFarlane. 
There could be no greater delusion, and it may indeed 
be that there are no present day McWilhams connected 
with that Clan, as it was usual for Septs after two or 
three generations to drop the patronymic and re-assume 
the Clan name, and seeing that the authority is 
Buchanan of Auchmar, who wrote some two centuries 
ago, the patronymic may well have subsequently 
fallen into disuse by the MacFarlanes. The writer 
could cite a number of instances of the use of the 
patronymic in connection with different Clans in the 
course of the last two or three centuries where it was 
afterwards superseded by the Clan name." 

(Here follows over twenty references to McWilhams 
in Glenlivet). 

" In Glenhvet," further remarks Mr. McWilham, 
" in the parish of Inveravon, Banffshire, there were, 
in the 17th and i8th centuries, families distinguished 
by the name of Macphersons, alias McWillie or 
M'Cullie, certain descendants of which, in the present 
day, are known as McWilliam and McWillie. The 
ancestors of the latter, on removal from Glenlivet 
towards the end of the 17th century, appear to have 
discontinued the use of the name MacPherson, this 
being apparently in conformity with the practice of 
Highlanders in similar cases when removing to a 
Lowland district. There they would have of necessity 
to choose one name and adhere to it. Certain families 
remaining in the glen, however, continued for a 
century later to be called by both names, and it would 
appear that they, in all probabihty, finally adhered to 

170 History of Clan MacFarlane 

" But although the families which left the Glen in the 
17th century also left what may be called their Clan 
name behind them, their descendants, for the most 
part, retain traditions to this day indicative of a 
Macpherson origin. One of these is to the effect that 
a McWniie, resident in the parish of Cabrach, at the 
' 45 ', sent a substitute attired in Macpherson tartan 
to fight for Prince Charhe. Another tradition is that 
the McWiUies (now McWiUiams) who settled on the 
estate of Grant of Balhndalloch about 1743, were 
asked by Macpherson of Invereshie on his succeeding 
to BaUindalloch in 1806, to assume (or resume) the 
name of Macpherson. This laird, it appears, had the 
reputation among old Badenoch seanachies of being 
wonderfully conversant with the history, traditions, 
genealogies, etc., of his own clan, so that if he believed 
these McWillies to be real Macphersons there could be 
nothing more natural than that he should urge them, 
as a Chief of his name, to re-assume their old surname. 

" In these days, when one sees so many enquiries as to 
the particular Clan to which persons belong, it has 
occurred to the writer that the insertion of these notes 
might prove helpful to others who, like the writer, are 
saddled with a patronymic which has prevailed in 
many Clans." 

" Wilson is a form of Williamson or Mac William. 


As has already been suggested, the name Weir is an 
anglicised form of MacNair. Other explanations of 
its origin are : — 

" This name is derived from a local circumstance, 
to wit, one who resided by or near to a weir (on a river). 
It is fairly plentiful in Scotland. Major Weir, of evil 
fame, was a well known Edinburgh figure, and in 1794 
a Weir had a museum of natural history at No, 16 
Princess Street. Crest — a demi-horse, arg. Motto — 
Nihil verius (' Nothing more true '). 

Septs of MacFarlane 171 

" The Weirs are an old Lanarkshire family, there 
having been landed proprietors of that name for many 
generations in that district, although the family is no 
longer there. I have been told, though I have no 
proof of the fact,that the name was originally De Vere. 
It may therefore be of Norman descent. The crest is 
a hand upright holding a wreath of olive. Motto — 
In utriumque paratus ('Prepared for anything')." 

Finally, in an autograph letter from the Rev, John 
Weir, St. James' Manse, Forfar, occurs the following, 
which, from a romantic standpoint, we like best of 

" The Weirs are believed to be a branch of the 
MacFarlanes, the tradition being that more than 150 
years ago there were two young men, brothers, under- 
stood to be sons of the head of the Clan at Arrochar. 
They quarrelled, both being in love with the same lady. 
The younger ran his sword into the body of the elder, 
and, fearing he had killed him, fled over the hills. 
Finding himself pursued, and seeing men smelting or 
forging metal in a rude way, he appealed to them to 
protect or hide him. They hid him in a pit, and 
directed the pursuers to hasten beyond where he was 
hidden. The young man became ' feurin,' which, in 
GaeUc, is a forger (of iron). The word ' feurin ' is 
said to have been gradually changed to Weir — F 
transmuted into W." 

Mac Jock. 
This name is the modern Jackson, i.e., Jock's son. 


" Amongst the prairie scouts who made civiUsation 
possible in the great West," writes R. Graham 
Fergusson, " the McCondys were a Sept of the Clan 
MacFarlane. The Mac was usually dropped, as in the 
case of Elias Bean, the greatest of them all." 



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